Virtual Summer Intern in Private Banking, I was specifically supposed to be in Adam & Company.
The virtual experience has been great. The bank have done a fantastic job of organising speakers from a wide variety of business areas and given each programme the opportunity to do their own sessions. In general it is interactive and there is opportunity to ask questions, however it can be difficult to get involved and get to know people over zoom. Especially when there is around 180 people on a call. To help with this I think it would be good to have more programme specific time.
There has been a great emphasis the whole way through the programme about 'championing potential' and how valued we are as an intern cohort. The very decision to keep running the programme shows that we are valued by the bank. Moreover, moving into smaller groups for things such as the charity challenge and programme specific sessions created a good sense of community. Despite the obvious barriers of zoom the bank did a good job of making us feel valued.
Each intern has a graduate buddy who meets with us twice a week to answer any questions that we may have. This was particularly valuable for me as I was the only intern in my specific part of the bank so it was great to have a buddy who sorted meetings with colleagues. Moreover, before the programme started there was a lot of support and many contacts who we could ask for help and there was communication about what form the programme would take.
I'm not sure if there were many skills that were aimed at assisting our degree studies, however emotional intelligence and meditation could be useful during busy periods to manage workloads and stress. There has been ample advice on how to succeed at our further careers with emphasis on being curious, asking questions and building a network. We also learned a lot about the business and the roles that are available in our specific areas and how you can progress in the organisation. Most guest speakers also shared their tips for success.
There was an online portal which included a calendar so we were aware all the time about what events were coming up. All sessions were over zoom which was a good thing compared to having pre-recorded sessions as you felt more involved. The four week programme was divided into weeks with a certain theme which was good instead of having a muddle of sessions each week. There was also checklists and plenty of communication on the portal to keep us right.
It is difficult to create an atmosphere when the communication is all over zoom or email, but I think the bank did a good job in the circumstances. There was a lot of emphasis on learning and asking questions which created a positive and informal atmosphere. On the programme specific week there was more of an atmosphere as you were able to get to know others your cohort so the atmosphere became more friendly and open.
The programme was ultimately carried out over zoom so the software was simple. But the clear investment came in the form of senior colleagues time. Speakers took time out of their busy days to speak to us and answer questions, moreover we were told that we could contact them retrospectively. Moreover, some individuals were happy to arrange individual zoom calls with us and our graduate buddy's. It is also worth noting that the Bank honoured its financial commitment to interns by paying a 10 week salary despite the programme only running for 4 weeks.
A lot of time during the programme specific week was spent talking to graduates about their own journey and what the graduate programme involves and the routes that graduates can go down. Moreover, speaking to people in the firm gave us a good idea of what career progression is like at the firm and how we can be successful. Unfortunately, there isn't really a substitute to getting stuck into work at the office as this would give a better idea of what working at the bank is like.
The programme confirmed to me that NatWest and my specific area (Private Banking) would be a great place to start a career as a graduate. We were always reminded to keep an open mind because even if there is a specifi area that appeals to us at the moment, there is a lot of opportunity to try new areas through rotations so we can find an area we love. There is also a clear culture of learning and development which is of course vital for a graduate.
The bank did a great job in this regard. All interns receive their full promised salary despite only completing 4/10 of the weeks.
There was a huge amount of opportunity to do this on the programme. I have had a lot of conversations one-on-one with colleagues in the bank, especially with the organisation in which I am the only intern. Our graduate buddy had to attend all meetings with staff because interns did not sign NDAs but this was not a problem. Moreover, my programme involved a 'speed zoom' session where we spoke to a number of graduates for a few minutes which was a great way to ask questions and build a network who we could follow up with.
23rd July 2020
£20,000 - £21,999