It was a very enjoyable experience that was structured really well. Initially, I was apprehensive about a virtual approach however given the difficult current climate I'm very grateful that this was offered at all and I think that is a reflection on NatWest - they truly do value all employees no matter their stage on their career jouney. We had a wide range of speaker led sessions, Q&A's and smaller breakout opportunities to meet our peers and network which really made the experience a great one. Enjoyed it as much as I could, given the circumstances.
Our intern cohort was welcomed instantly and this culture of openness has only been proven again as the experience has gone on. We were actively encouraged to get involved, speak to each other and to ask any questions we may have. We were told many times that as a part of the banks purpose led mission that they invest heavily in Early Careers and bringing people to the bank which was really encouraging to hear.
We were constantly encouraged to ask questions, both pre-submitted and during live Q&A's and these formed as the basis for most of the guidance. The Early Careers team as well as the graduates also said that they were open to anyone getting in contact if they needed any further guidance. In the case study and group projects there was drop in calls for any guidance and I felt well supported in any of the tasks that were set. The wind-down Friday sessions also showed the NatWest's commitment to making the sessions good for us.
This is one of my first experiences in this industry - my degree is in this background and I have done smaller scale experiences however this was my first large-scale insight into the industry and the insights have been invaluable. It was the first time I could immerse myself in banking situations and adapt my theoretical knowledge from my degree to practical work. The information I learned has really put my academics in a new light going forward and this is something I have enjoyed very much. This internship experience has definitely given me many skills and taught me new approaches to work that I will use frequently going forward.
The structure of the internship definitely set it apart from other virtual experiences I have heard of. It ran very smoothly. I enjoyed the structure of hearing from seniors in the bank, followed by graduates on their team always followed by a Q&A to tie up any loose ends. The programme specific week was the most enriching for me personally, it was great to learn the specifics of my division. Friday's were usually a more relaxing session which was a nice way to end the week.
The general atmosphere was very friendly and respectful which reflected the culture at NatWest perfectly. I was unsure of how a virtual atmosphere would be established but it was made clear and comfortable early on. The Early Careers team made it clear they were very approachable and the use of breakout rooms on Zoom allowed me to meet a lot of my new colleagues across multiple divisions and locations which I wouldn't have been able to do as easily as if the experience was in person. These small interactions helped me begin to build rapports with my colleagues and gradually as we returned to the main call it was a much more relaxed environment.
Coming from an economics background I knew vaguely I wanted a career in this industry and after delving into the intricacies of corporate banking I decided it was what I wanted. Now, having secured the internship I have seen that this role is well aligned to my strengths. This coupled with the culture of the bank makes me feel very fortunate to have found such a challenging role and at such a prestigious yet welcoming bank.
The company culture came through even through the screen. It was great to see the camaraderie between the existing seniors and their team of graduates, it encouraged me to want to be in these teams going forward in my career. The interactions and collaborations across all departments and levels of seniority in the internship showed me that the banks purpose led mission really is underpinned by an open, caring and friendly culture to start with internally.
The internship was structured so that it was accessible for the entire intern cohort, however there was specific sessions within our own divisions. These more focused sessions were the most useful in terms of deciding on my future career. Being able to converse with current graduates who told us about their rotations and what we would potentially have to look forward to was really encouraging and their experiences really solidified why I chose to apply in the first place. I realised I definitely wanted this career and definitely at this bank.
100% would definitely recommend this to a friend. It was an immersive and stimulating experience. NatWest deciding to commit to the programme rather than cancelling it entirely like other banks, showed that they really do care and this was further emphasised in the calls when they echoed how the interns are valued at the company. Despite it being virtual, they still managed to facilitate me meeting new people and to
make new friends all while learning more about my specific interests and the next steps in my future career.