I very much enjoyed my internship at BofA. The programme provided an excellent learning opportunity. After my six weeks at the bank, I now have a firm understanding of the work the organisation carries out as well as the specific tasks I will undertake within the division I interned.
The programme also gave me the opportunity to build a professional network, both with existing BofA employees--who were always very keen to offer their time to have virtual coffees--and the other interns, with whom I undertook many group projects.
My colleagues were very eager to help me perform my role. We were each assigned a buddy and I felt I was able to message any question I had about my work. Additionally, my colleagues were always willing to impart their insights gained from their experience from working at the bank. Also, I felt I was very much a part of the specific team to which I was assigned. My manager invited me to team socials and my colleagues seemed very keen to get to know me as an individual.
This was the most impressive element of the programme. My manager devoted much of his time to checking in on me to ensure I was getting the most out of the experience.
My manager provided me with a list of contacts for me to reach out to, assisting me in forging a network across the bank.
Also, my manager practiced my final presentation with me. This meant, not only that my presentation was executed to a high standard, but moving forward, I know exactly what constitutes a good corporate presentation. Meaning I can apply this understanding when I undertake presentations in my future career.
The structure of the internship meant that the first three weeks consisted of timetabled training sessions. These rarely ran into the evening and my work load wasn't excessive.
Upon hitting the desk, my workload did increase and I was quite busy. The combination of work assigned by my manager, group work as well as networking made the second half of the internship rather busy.
However, I felt that the work wasn't monotonous, and I knew I was working on real projects, rather than fake projects conjured up to keep the interns busy. This made the work feel worthwhile.
I was assigned the exact same work an analyst would be assigned. I had to perform analysis on real client relationships and I felt my opinions were taken seriously.
I can clearly see how the work I undertook fits into the bigger picture and I can see that others will rely upon the work I produced in their role. Hence, I understood that it was essential that I completed my work to a high standard.
My internship places me in a good position to renter the finance field upon graduation. I know about the products, systems and clients the team deals with. I feel that my six weeks at the bank have placed me in a good position to return to the role as a graduate.
I don't necessarily feel my experience will make my degree any easier, however, I have gained broader understanding of the finance field should I study modules in this arena.
Lastly, I have improved my 'soft' skills immeasurably. I now know the components of a good presentation and my networking skills have improved, too.
We were working remotely for the duration of the internship, meaning we were somewhat deprived of the office dynamic. After all, it was impossible to lean over to the person next to you to ask a quick question and I had to go without the casual chats by the water cooler.
This said, my colleagues were very quick to respond to questions via instant messaging, I maintained close contact with the other interns in my division via Skype and seniors were very willing to hold virtual coffee chats with us.
Most enjoyably, the interns from across the bank with whom I completed ESG, data literacy and accounting projects formed the basis of my social network during the programme.
The internship was very well organised. Technology performed very well, on the whole and I felt that a great deal of planning had been put into ensuring the programme provided a solid learning opportunity. This was exemplified by the impressive combination of executive presentations which took place during the first week.
To better spread out the workload, the presentations for group projects could have taken place in the first three weeks, when we were undergoing training. With them taking place in the final three weeks, my workload was exacerbated and I was forced to complete work into the night, which wouldn't have been necessary if the group projects took place towards the start of the programme.
The firm invested a great deal in my development.
The most notable contributions to this came from my manager, who devoted many hours of his time to answering my questions, imparting his advice from his own experiences, and helping me with my presentation.
Additionally, during the training we were provided with hour long office hours with credit trainers to whom we were able to ask any questions we wished.
Lastly, the VP from the division who organised the interns within the department was very eager to set up opportunities where we could ask questions and learn from the experiences of others.
Working from home
My future employment prospects at BofA are very appealing.
Firstly, the bank's culture was well communicated through throughout the experience. I see the value the bank places on creating a diverse and inclusive workplace and that is very appealing.
I also feel confident in the bank's management after having them address the intern class during the executive speaker series. Presentations were delivered by the most senior people within the bank including the CEO himself. I am confident in them as leaders, which is essential as I am effectively entrusting them with my career.
Lastly, the team within which I worked seemed like a very pleasant group of people. This made me very pleased to verbally accept a return offer.
Although the bank didn't formally establish any social calls, my team naturally held multiple zoom socials where we got to know each other on a more personal basis. The intern class was made up of likeminded individuals and this internship was probably my first experience of being amongst a sea of passionate, driven and financially minded people. This made it feel natural to socialise and network with my fellow interns, even though the bank didn't formalise it.
I was working from home for the duration of the internship, meaning I had incurred zero living costs.
Thanks to COVID-19, the nightlife consisted of Zoom happy hours on a Friday from my bedroom.
The bank laid on a virtual tour of the Tate Modern and a self-portraiture class from a tutor from the National Portrait Gallery. However the latter was scuppered by technical difficulties.
In addition to this the interns undertook volunteering, as would be expected if the programme were in person. This consisted of two school children pitching a proposal to improve their community before having the interns offer them feedback on their pitch and advice for their future career.
Internship (1-4 Months)
Central London and City
3rd August 2020