I loved the people that were always willing to help, the amount of responsibility that was given to me from my first day of work as well as the fact that I was extremely involved in the projects that were run by the company to the extent that I wasn`t only "an intern", I was a functioning member of the team. I also enjoyed working for a company that invested in my training and my development.
I felt extremely valued by my colleagues. I received support and understanding and especially when the end of the month was coming (the busiest period out of the entire month), everybody tried to help me as much as possible. With the COVID outbreak hindering my capabilities to work as fast as I would have done in an office, my team seemed always supportive and were encouraging me to do my best, despite the unforeseen circumstances.
I had the privilege to work under 3 different people, all of them being extremely involved individuals that devoted their time to my development and aligned my tasks and my responsibilities to what were my goals and my expectations from my placement year. I received 1 to 1 session, we set goals together and we reviewed together in a constructive way my performance while also giving me feedback, useful notes regarding the future area of improvement.
I had extremely busy periods in which I would have wished for a far longer working day and periods in which I could have focused a lot on my development while learning from data analytics courses or reviewing previous campaigns and their analytics, However, I can confidently say that no day was the same, in every single day that I went to my job something exciting, challenging was to be done, therefore I felt like I accomplished a lot at the end of my 12 months placement.
I was given a lot of responsibility and I had full ownership of some reports and projects that were important for my team in particular and for the company in general. I realised that the reports that I produced were used in making decisions regarding some of the future steps, therefore, the accuracy and timing of them were essential for the team. It was a steep learning curve that made me really confident in the way I nurture the execution of projects in which multiple parties are involved.
I wanted to discover myself better and to learn what are the strong parts of my performance in the workforce and where I can improve. The team from RCI Bank contributed enormously to that. I received a lot of feedback regarding my work and I had the chance to participate in courses that developed my soft skills: Negotiation, Communications, Presentations. Besides that, I had access to LinkedIn learning and the opportunity to develop my technical capabilities through courses such as the one that I just finished that was concentrated on Microsoft Office.
RCI culture is friendly and open - the company keeps its customers at the heart of what they do. I received a very warm welcome when I first joined and was given the opportunity to be involved in lots of different tasks, take initiative and make a visible contribution to the company. We celebrated birthdays and special days and in the office, we have different activities that entertained us (12 days of Christmas, pancake days, fundraising activities for different causes etc).
The placement was organised smoothly, my transition from office to work from home was extremely smooth and in general, the Human Resources team informed us of any changes. I had a comprehensive induction in which I had the chance to get to know the company and the team and then I had support through all of my 12 months of the internship. HR and my line manager liaised really well with the university as well.
• Online courses (Anti-Money Laundering, Computer Security, Anti-Money Laundering, Computer Security); • Training with coaches and trainers (Effective Communication, Influence and Negotiation, Presentation Skills); • On the job training and online qualifications (Google Analytics, Twitter Flight School) Besides that, I was trained on the job, receiving transition from the former intern and preparing and delivering the transition for the next intern. However, I felt like for a position like marketing, more training would have been beneficial.
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Working from home
I loved my work and the team, therefore, if I would have the opportunity, I would return as a graduate. The downside of their graduate scheme is that is the fact that it is a rotational one and I am more interested in my area of expertise, I do not want to explore other domains, I would like to focus and become better and better at what I love the most and what maximises my strengths.
I had a lovely team (that was quite small to be fair) and the atmosphere was extremely relaxed - I enjoyed going to work every morning. However, I was not extremely close to the fellow students/colleagues although all of them were great people with good social skills. I felt like I was slightly busier at peak hours, a fact that did not allow me to join them for lunch or for other group gatherings or chats.
I lived in Watford, situated on the Metropolitan line. That being said, the cost of living was slightly higher than the North of the country but substantially lower than the centre of London. However, transportation to work was unreliable (fact that sometimes proved to be expensive as well) and the subway fares were relatively expensive. The fact that you had a direct line to the centre of London facilitated going out easier or attending social events.
Nightlife in Watford or Rickmansworth is inexistent - both are small places without much to do in the surroundings. However, we could have always taken the metropolitan line to the city centre and enjoy the perks of living in the suburbs of London. However, as I said, the tube was quite expensive and the last one was around 00:00, fact that created problems at returning back home after a night out - we usually took the taxi.
Due to COVID-19 lockdown, my company decided to make us work from home from the beginning of April (even before this was enforced by the Government) and a multitude of events and awards ceremonies were cancelled. There was not much to get involved besides the sporadic participation in volunteering actions (Especially around Christmas and Eastern) and maybe team buildings organised with the larger teams or with the other interns as an induction exercise at the beginning of my placement.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
19th August 2020