I found the experience to be varied and interesting although I think I would have enjoyed more time working with my own department group and getting to know to them better rather then spending most of the time in large calls with the whole intern cadre. I did find these larger calls enjoyable though and I was encouraged by the willingness of important members of the bank to give their time to help us understand what it is RBS does.
I felt as if the company was genuinely invested in ensuring that we felt a part of the organisation and we maintained regular contact with an assigned graduate as well as having multiple talks with high up members of the bank. I was encouraged by things such as the mindfulness session which I feel demonstrated that the bank cared about our mental health as individuals as well as not placing too much strain on us without also providing time to wind down.
I feel that by keeping in contact with our assigned graduate buddies we were kept in the loop about what was going on whilst the early careers website was easy to follow and regularly updated as or when things changed. I felt that if I did have a question that I knew who I could ask and I didn't feel as if it was off limits to ask any questions of the more senior members of the early careers team.
I think that now I understand the importance of curiosity as well as an interest in a broad range of topics which I think will encourage me to make the most of my time at university to learn more about a variation of subjects. I also feel that the experience has taught me to be less expectant that jobs will always stay the same and I think it has shown the importance of an individual's ability to adapt in the long run.
I feel that the virtual experience was well structured and clearly laid out with an accessible and easy to use calendar on the early careers website showing us what we had coming up and what there was to expect. As previously mentioned I think more emphasis could have been placed on working within our department but I feel that talks held by senior members of the bank as well as the following Q&A sessions were an excellent opportunity.
I feel that the atmosphere was very upbeat, positive, and encouraging which was especially reassuring during a time of such uncertainty. I also think that the general atmosphere of the bank is optimistic as well as being energised with a renewed purpose and a desire to maintain a very positive and healthy working culture. I believe this is typified by a desire to acknowledge the mistakes of the past and learn from them but not to try and and pretend that they did not happen
I do feel that the opportunities for personal training and development were limited which I don't blame on the company but on the current circumstances as there is not as much that can be done virtually and with limited time as would have been possible over a 10 week period working in person. I feel that attempts to encourage personal development were done through speakers and through encouraging us to meet and work with other members of the intern scheme during these longer sessions to discuss between ourselves what we were learning.
Although the virtual experience was very good in a variety of ways I do feel as if I am quite unsure of what my job would entail were I to have been working there full-time. I am not sure whether I would have been working singularly on projects of my own, with other interns, or shadowing more senior members of the bank including graduates. I believe that the ability to demonstrate what it is like to work at the bank properly is limited however as there is only so much that can be made up for virtually.
I felt that the the ability to ask questions openly of senior members of the bank as well as the overarching positivity and open show of valuing interns and their potential demonstrated the inherent positivity of the company's culture. I believe that the company genuinely took the time to show that their culture is on an upward swing from where it was in the past and openly admits the mistakes it has made whilst readily providing answers and displaying the actions being taken to improve.
As a student studying history I was unsure whether I would fit in in the world of financial services but the content on the virtual experience demonstrated that the bank values more what kind of a person you are and not what area of study you are currently involved in. This has helped me feel confident that I can join the financial services industry and has encouraged me to aim as high as anyone with a background in studying finance, business, or economics.
RBS committed to pay us as if we were working for the full 10 week internship scheme that we had initially signed up for despite the virtual experience being only 4 weeks long. I believe this was a very positive gesture of good faith that the bank opted to stick to its original commitment especially during very uncertain conditions. Moreover, it made me feel as if the company genuinely valued us and wanted to keep us on as a part of their early careers cadre.
Opportunities for networking were regularly initiated by other interns such as through Zoom meetups out of hours as well as WhatsApp and LinkedIn groups being set up as a means for interns to connect with one another and speak outside of the regular meetings during the day. I believe the ability to network is obviously limited by the nature of anything virtual but this was generally made up for by ensuring that on zoom calls we were regularly placed in breakout rooms with new people we had not met before.
Social opportunities usually consisted of quizzes and a virtual escape room where we could meet other interns in a casual environment and generally have more of a laugh. Generally, however, opportunities for socialising and networking were initiated by interns themselves through virtual coffee mornings and quiz nights that were made known of by posting on the social wall of the early careers website. Perhaps more could have been done by the company to ensure these happened rather than needing individual interns to take the initiative.
It was made very clear that there were many opportunities for partaking in volunteer and charity work as well as schemes to improve one's other professional skills. I was encouraged by schemes focussed on taking care of the mental health of employees as well as being told about the various opportunities within the bank for maintaining and improving fitness due to the facilities offered within the main headquarters at Gogarburn. I would have liked to know whether there were any opportunities for gaining new educational qualifications, however.
Yes I would recommend this virtual experience and the internship scheme as a whole as I believe the company is genuinely invested in finding and encouraging young talent. I would imagine that this virtual experience will be a one-off occurrence due to the uniqueness of current events but if such a scheme is required again I do recommend that people should take part as what can be gained from the experience was very positive and encouraging.