It was thoroughly enjoyable. There were of course, days which weren't as exciting, but these were few and far between. I was given tasks and projects which really contributed to the wider picture and weren't simply menial tasks. You're encouraged to do things for your self and manage your work load, which gives you a little more freedom over how you approach your projects. Training opportunities are given, so there are often opportunities to learn outside of your normal role, which mixes things up a bit.
Very valued. From day 1, you are encouraged to become a real member of the team and your opinion is valued as an alternative insight. There are a few (I stress,very few) staff members which struggle to see beyond your job title (intern), however most treat you as a peer and are more than happy to help. Everyone is very welcoming and aware that your are there to learn, so more than happy to support your personal development and skillsbase.
My manager gave me support way beyond their job role, even helping (where possible) with uni reports and presentations. I was supported in all day-day activities but not micromanaged (a great balance). Similarly, I was also encouraged to take up all additional opportunities (training, networking with other departments). Everyone really is very happy to support you to get the most out of the year. Further up the management line, people are very busy, however when they do have time, are very welcoming and encouraging.
There were occasions when work was too busy or not busy enough, however I think this is characteristic of fast moving consumer goods R&D in general, not just BAT. With the ebbs and flows, however, you can account for this as BAT has a flexible working procedure (i.e. if you work additional hours on one day, you can work fewer another). which really helps. I was certainly given enough responsibility, but not encouraged to over work.
Each placement student is given their own project, which they are encouraged to manage themselves. On a day-day basis, if you seek out opportunity and show promise in managing this, then you are generally given the opportunity to undertake this. You certainly can get (and probably will be) involved in very consumer relevant work streams, so everything you do is commercially relevant in some way. You're not simply given menial tasks or shut in a lab all day!
A particular highlight for me was a two day offsite leadership training. The skills I learned here, really will stick with me in my career and beyond (presentation skills, communicating effectively, giving feedback etc.). We were also very well supported by the placement team and encouraged to seek out and training opportunities we wanted. The skills have already supported my university experience (delivery and preparing for presentations etc.) and certainly will continued to do so beyond.
Very lively atmosphere in my office, particularly within my team. Everyone was always very approachable and helpful, very happy to help. In other areas, the office was quieter, but everyone was still approachable and kind. The offices are generally bright and the labs clean and accessible. The free tea/coffee machine didn't serve the best drinks but was certainly nice to have. Overall, a very welcoming place with fairly modern offices - I'll happily go back.
Generally, very well set up. The placement team are helpful and are on-hand to support additional activities and day to day tasks and questions. Sometimes there were admin issues (difficulties getting set up on systems etc etc.), however, generally, things were set up well. HR also seemed helpful. You are expected to do things for yourself. Obviously, guidance is given as and when required, but you're expected to flag issues/ get admin completed on your own behalf.
BAT wholeheartedly invest in all the talent that walks through their doors. You are given almost as many opportunities as a placement student as permanent employees. If anything, the additional time which you have as a student, enables you to undertake more training, networking and personal development. The placement team put on a whole host of additional development opportunities which really complemented your daily tasks. These were a great opportunity to learn from the very best.
Very appealing - I hope to return myself, if there is an appropriate role available. BAT has a very fast paced atmosphere (beyond that of any fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) company), which really encourages you to think on your feet. Because of this, I know many people have returned to BAT (after having worked elsewhere for a period of time), because other companies seems slow and sluggish in comparison. The atmosphere is great and there are so many opportunities to get involved with.
This was impacted by recent events, understandably (COVID-19, Coronavirus, lockdown etc). However, prior to this, there were so many events to get involved with. There were monthly networking sessions (and the odd free drink too), which was a great opportunity to socialise with colleagues. Almost the entirety of December was an opportunity to socialise within BAT. Everyone works very hard, so enjoys the time to network and socialise at the many events throughout the Christmas period.
Very cheap, Southampton has an abundance of student housing nearby and always seems to have vacant houses, so it is very easy to find somewhere. You can get a place for almost all budgets and requirements. Some houses really aren't the nicest, but if you stand your ground with an estate agent, I am sure you'll find somewhere appropriate. The cost of socialising I would say, is average. There are some very cheap places, but they aren't the nicest.
The nightlife isn't the best in Southampton, however, there are some very good bars and pubs. BAT will certainly help you to find the good ones, the monthly networking events are a great place to do this. Nearby is portsmouth, which has slightly better nightlife, and is only a short train journey away. Overall, the bars are pretty good and there is a lot of choice in the city centre, however the clubs aren't great.
There were so many opportunities opened up to us by BAT. They really do look after you and encourage you to socialise with colleagues. Southampton is an average area, but you can make the most of it if you want to. I particularly like the networking events BAT put on monthly, they really are a laugh and a great opportunity to socialise. There are also many different sports and social clubs (and a choir too).