The Change & Business Solutions virtual internship exceeded my expectations. NatWest Group had taken a lot of effort to put on engaging and interesting workshops and presentations, covering a wide range of topics. We got to hear from senior members across the banking group, as well as participate in development sessions and take part in fundraising challenges. The internship has increased my knowledge of Natwest Group and the finance industry as a whole. I leave the internship feeling enthusiastic about a potential graduate scheme with NatWest Group.
As interns we were made to feel incredibly valued during our time with the bank. It was evident that the Early Careers team had spent a lot of time and effort to ensure that our internship experience was worthwhile, even though it had to take part remotely and not in the office, which was originally planned. It was also made clear to us that interns and graduates are seen as valued members of the Group, and that NatWest is eager to invest in interns and graduates potential. Of course, this would probably have been felt more if we could be in the office and get to know the colleagues at NatWest better.
Since this was a virtual internship, which mainly consisted of presentations and workshops, we did not need a lot of guidance in terms of day-to-day work activities. However, we got the opportunity to ask senior members of staff questions during each presentation, and the answers and insights we got during these sessions were incredibly valuable for me when thinking about my professional career and development, and how I can make the best of my early career years.
With the carefully planned development sessions, as well as the opportunity to learn from members of staff with years of experience, I left the internship feeling that I was equipped with advice and knowledge that will be extremely useful as I enter my final year of University, and start thinking about how I want to plan my career going forward. We learned a lot of practical advice as well, such as how to communicate with colleagues with different communication styles, how to develop a growth mindset and how to form meaningful connections during our professional career path.
The internship was very well thought through and structured. We had one session a day, four times a week, for a month straight. Alongside this we had catch-up calls with our graduate buddy every week, as well as before and after the internship, and we got together with our fundraising challenge teams on a weekly basis. This all led to a well-rounded internship experience that was engaging and interactive. I was impressed with the quality of the presentations and the development sessions, and how I was made to feel part of the bank even though it took place virtually.
Missing out on an office-based internship due to the Covid-19 pandemic made it more difficult to get a sense of the atmosphere. However, with engaging speakers and a supportive team of graduates and the Early Careers team, I definitely felt motivated to get the most out of the internship and the overall experience was very positive. I got the sense that NatWest's values are aligned to my own, which is something that I was keen to explore during the internship.
Having one week completely dedicated to hearing from graduates on the Change & Business graduate scheme was really helpful in developing an understanding of what it would be to join the bank as a graduate. I was also really supported and got to ask any questions I had about the graduate scheme to my graduate buddy throughout the internship. Unfortunately we were not able to actually try the day-to-day job activities as it was a virtual experience, however if there was anything I would change it would be more opportunities to do work tasks, sit in on meetings etc.
There was a lot of focus on the company culture, which I really appreciated as this is very important to me when thinking about where I would like to start my career. It was clear that the supportive and inclusive culture at the bank is a priority and something that they are proud of. It was interesting to hear from several senior members within the bank that wellbeing and kindness is highly valued, and I left the internship feeling that the company culture really aligned with my own values.
We were assigned a graduate buddy who provided a lot of support during the internship. We also had opportunities to network with other interns through the online intern portal set up by NatWest, and a few of the senior members of staff offered opportunities to set up follow-up meetings with them.
During the internship we found out about the extensive amount of networking opportunities and activities that staff can get involved in, such as the graduate councils and wellbeing initiatives.
I would definitely recommend this experience to a friend if they are thinking about doing a virtual internship with NatWest Group, as it was very informative, engaging and insightful. However, if I could choose between a virtual experience and an in the office experience then I would definitely go with the latter, as I believe this would be even more useful for me in terms of developing new skills and understanding what it is like working at NatWest.