I wish I could rate my experience more than 10/10. It was an enriching experience for me. My expectation for the internship was by far exceeded.
Although, I don't know how a physical internship would've gone, but given the virtual experience I had, I don't think there's more I could ask for.
The Bank did a great job in organizing the virtual internship, it was super engaging. In terms of networking and engaging with the people, It was really great as people are always willing to have a chat with you, and connect you with other people too.
One of the many great things about the company is the culture. The kind of environment created allows all employees to bring their whole self to work. There's no form of discrimination or whatsoever, everyone is recognized, and everyone's idea is equally welcomed. Working with my team, I really felt valued every time my manager ask my opinion about a topic and allows me to communicate my idea on a particular problem. I also felt really valued whenever people decide to meet with me to help me learn, despite their busy schedule.
I think I had the maximum support I could throughout my internship. On starting the internship, I was assigned a buddy, a mentor, and a manager. It can be really difficult settling in a new place for the first time, but with my buddy, it was very much easy to be a part of the company. My manager and mentor were always there to ensure that I got the best internship experience. They are always there to guide me, answer all my questions and attend to all my concerns.
In terms of soft skills, one of the skills this virtual internship with the bank helped me improve on is my communication skills. Communicating virtually can be quite challenging, but thanks to the various sessions organized, that taught how to communicate effectively in a virtual environment, I was able to pass the message, engage my audience, and listen to people when having conversations.
In terms of technical skills, the internship greatly increased my presentation skills as I got the opportunity to make different presentations. The organized group projects allowed me to work with people from different background, and this helped me improve my teamwork skills.
The way the bank structured the virtual internship is what made it so perfect. During the first week, sessions were held to help all interns understand the different lines of business and what they do. The second week's sessions were focused on helping interns build their soft and technical skills. The weeks that followed were dedicated to projects. There were different projects throughout the whole week, one enabled all interns across all division to work together, others enabled interns from different teams within the same division work together. This structure really ensured I was engaged every single week throughout the whole period of the internship.
The firm gave everything to ensure that I gain maximum experience. There were various sessions focused on helping me build my soft and technical skills. I was able to work on different projects to help expand my knowledge base and improve my skill set. The company provided access to all resources that were needed to gain relevant skills and knowledge. I had a mentor and manager assigned to me that guided me in my whole learning and development process.
It was during the middle of my internship I decided that I would love to join the bank for a full-time role. As at that point, I had experienced how a great a company Bank of America is. The culture is really great, the people are the best, it's such a great place to work. Everyone is willing to take time out of their busy schedule to help you learn. Though it was a virtual experience, interacting with the people that have worked in the firm longer than I have, helped me understand how having a full-time role would be like.
Before joining the bank, I had little knowledge finance, but I chose to be open-minded and was willing to learn new things during my stay at the bank. My internship at the bank really fostered my knowledge about finance, data science and artificial intelligence. The plan for me has always been to have a career as a software engineer, and this hasn't changed, what changed after my internship is the fact that I'm now more than willing to pursue a software engineering career in the financial industry.
Networking with people was one of the easiest things to do during my internship. You are just one Skype message away from reaching out to anyone in the bank. Various panel discussion session was set up which allowed interns to meet with executives, Graduates and other employees at the bank. There are various connect programs where employees across different locations are paired together to connect with one another. Also, there are various employees networks in the bank which makes it easy to meet other employees.
All the networking session were really great. The Graduate panel session gave the opportunity to interact with Graduate within the firm, and learn from their experiences. The Executive speaker sessions also gave the opportunity to interact with the executives in the bank. There were other volunteer events that allowed interns to engage with high school students and share their experiences with them. There was also quiz sessions that brings all interns across divisions and locations tother. All the events were very insightful.
Given the present situation the world is in right now, we are not certain when it's going to be over. While the new normal has seen everything that used to be done physically become virtual now, then the only one can do is to make the best out of the current situation. And given the great experience, I heard while working at the bank, I would absolutely recommend this virtual experience to anyone out there seeking for a place to have a very good internship.
Republic of Ireland
18th August 2020