This unprecedented virtual summer experience has proven to be quite ensightful to understand the functioning and the purpose of the royal bank of schotland, now Natwest. Natwest organized a very diversified experience, not focused exclusively on the division I have been selected for. I really enjoyed the development sessions and the sessions held by business speakers, as much as the meetings with the heads of the different teams within the departments I have been chosen for.
During the experience, there have been times in which I felt more and less valued. In particular, meetings with hundreds of participants did not make me feel valued because the room for asking questions was very little. Moreover, it happened that due to organizational problems, some of us could not take place to a meeting because Zoom supported only a limited number of attendees. On the other hand, several division-specific meetings gave everyone the room for asking questions and being involved.
Guidance and support have been great. Everyone was assigned a buddy to be mentored and supported throughout the entire internship period and before it started. Moreover, the members of the HR teams have been always available for clarification and assistance. Whenever a problem arose, it was quickly solved and a solution that could help everyone was found. For instance, for the Zoom call that could not support all of us, a new session was promptly rescheduled the week after.
I believe what I have been missing most of a physical internship is the possibility of learning and developing concrete knowledge. The sessions were very general and the speakers never went into deep details, probably due to the fact that the meeting where very brief and there would not have much time for more than a general and quick presentation of the division of the speaker. Some speakers tried to give more technical details, but in general, sessions were not that technical.
The virtual experience that Natwest organized was very well structured. The meetings were almost only during the morning and meetings were very close to each other so that not to leave to much free time. The meetings were very short, and very well organized. The speakers always respected the time limit they had and were available for further clarification via email or communication through the HR of the division. Overall, Natwest structured the experience very well.
The virtual experience was not exclusively serious and technical but a few meetings with graduate councils were organized that consisted on virtual escape rooms, quizzes, and challenges. Even in more serious moments, it was clear how passionate about their jobs the speakers were and this by itself made all the sessions very fun and interesting. Moreover, all us interns were very excited and very involved in all the meetings and this by itself made the whole experience more interesting.
Natwest organized several events to allow us to talk to graduates about their internship experiences and about how it is to work in NatWest, both as a graduate and in a full-time role. Moreover, the speakers from the different divisions emphasized significantly how their day was structured, what their role was about, and what were their main duties. Finally, the buddy has always been available for further clarification and to talk more about the various activities that the bank organizes.
Most of the first week of the virtual experience was about the company and its culture. Different speakers emphasized how much the company culture is scope-driven and how much they try to invest in people. Other notions about the company's culture came out even during more division-specific meetings and meetings with graduates, showing how much the bank has tried to make these values and these principles it is driven by part of the daily work experience of every member of the organization.
The bank decided to pay us for the whole length of the internship if it was not held online, which was 10 weeks even if the virtual program was only for 4 weeks. This has been an extremely valuable choice, different from most of the other banks. Moreover, the mere fact that Natwest has tried in any way to invest the most possible on its interns shows how much the company has valued this experience.
The company organized several meetings to allow us to meet the heads of different departments, other interns, and graduates. During development sessions and other games, we were sent to smaller rooms in Zoom where we were given the chance to meet other interns of different divisions and networking with them. Moreover, at the beginning of the division-specific week, we were asked to present ourselves to the other interns of our division. Finally, we could talk to members of different teams.
Throughout the whole experience, NatWest gave us the opportunity to talk to people from different business areas and different programs. This has been extremely insightful for what concerns the activities that employees can get involved in outside work, especially for graduate roles. In fact, the bank has several graduate councils that are specialized in different areas, e.g. organizing events, promoting volunteering activities, and organizing sessions to deepen the understanding of business areas different from the one grads work in.