I didn't expect much from the employer because there was a short time to prepare and completely reschedule the internship. However, I was pleasantly surprised because despite shorter duration, the internship included substantial training and actual tasks, rather than theoretical case studies. Team was very supportive and organized different catch ups as they all understood the struggle to communicate virtually via email. I learnt a lot in a short period time through the team exposure.
I was frequently asked about my capacity so that I can help the team out with their workload. It showed me that team trusted me with some day-to-day tasks and gave me credit for the work done. It was a steep learning curve but I felt like I learnt a lot and I actually delivered the job for which I was hired, despite the experience being virtual. Positive feedback confirmed that feeling of being valued and trusted.
My team gave me some extra training because the tasks had been different to the usual investment banking DCF modeling and Powerpoint work. I had a chance to ask questions during those trainings and through catch ups / calls. My team was busy but people still had time to explain what I needed to do and why, which made it even more valuable. Despite August usually being quite relaxed in terms of work, I was shown the whole workflow of my team due to busy months.
My tasks had been pretty niche because of the team specifics. However, the knowledge that I received will definitely help me in my understanding of the industry and in future career progression in case I will not get a return offer. Information that I learnt is not easily available through online learning platforms and I feel like it gave me a bigger picture about my team, what it does and the current dynamics in the market.
The internship included substantial training for all interns but also my team provided me with a team-specific information and organized training sessions, which I used in my day-to-day tasks. It was useful to get a refresher of accounting, modeling, comps etc and to develop new knowledge that is not easily available if you are not a part of a bigger firm. Overall, there had been many sessions to attend in case you had some time.
It was, of course, a bit weird in the beginning because you can't ask a question unless you either write it down or say it, which was tricky initially due to IT / setup issues. People had been very understanding and organized socials but it is obviously different to actually speaking to people rather than meeting them virtually. The employer did their best to make the most out of the current situation and virtual internship.
The company provided a general training and my team added some team-specific trainings to ensure that I can help them with daily tasks and can reduce the workload of the busy team. So it let me get a new knowledge plus actually test my understanding on the task done (and get a feedback in case something was wrong afterwards), which would very helpful in the future for my productivity, job interviews and for industry awareness.
My team gave a very good overview of the daily tasks and also let me do them so that I get a flavor of the actual job and decide for myself if I want to spend my career on it. It is not for everyone so it was nice to know that people do not want you to waste your time on something that you would not want to do in the future, which is great.
People had been encouraging you to reach out and speak to those outside your team, which was difficult if the connection was not there before. However, there were opportunities when you had been allocated to a random person in the office, not from your team, which encouraged both parties to speak together, even if they didn't know each other before. Overall, there had been a lot of diversity initiatives to meet employees from different backgrounds.
There were a lot of options but they had not been compulsory because of course you still had work to do. However, if you had been free, you could attend talks and socials, which had been very diverse in nature. If you could not attend, extra materials had been provided to you later to cover up for your absence, in case you still wanted to learn. Speakers had been very engaging and topics had been varying.
It is definitely better than doing nothing right now. It is pretty strange in the beginning but you adapt quite quickly, especially after you accept some obvious drawbacks, for instance, IT issues and connectivity problems. You still get knowledge and don't have to spend time commuting, which is beneficial if you are based overseas or live far away from the office. Atmosphere was different this year but it was the best that could be done due to circumstances.