I was incredibly grateful that the internship went ahead despite the COVID-19 pandemic. In general, it was clear that Aon had put a lot of thought and effort into the internship program. In what must be a very challenging time for the business with the upcoming merger in addition, I still got the impression that I was welcomed openly into the company. Meeting all the other interns was great and it was very useful getting to see what a future career at Aon may be like.
Every intern was assigned a 'buddy' to help them throughout the internship. These we were really helpful . I was given informal 1-to-1 meetings with a many people in the office - junior and senior. This helped me become more comfortable within my team. Throughout Aon, all interactions with colleagues were great. Everybody was happy and willing to help. I was grateful to the colleagues who made the effort to pass work over even when it perhaps made there lives more difficult having to teach me how to do it.
Due to the online nature of the internship, my manager was based in a different office to me. However, they still made every effort to keep in touch and offer me any support I required. The weekly catch-ups were very helpful. I also had to set a series of goals throughout the internship and my managers support in helping me meet these was invaluable. Feedback was provided whenever asked for and was really useful in helping guide where I could improve.
My office was going through a quieter period when I started the internship. This meant there wasn't a lot of office-related work to go around. Some weeks were definitely less busy than others. Aon, however, made efforts to provide learning resources, webinars, and other activities to compensate for these less buys periods. It was especially hard to get involved because the virtual nature of the internship makes it more time consuming to learn new things. Nevertheless, colleagues tried their best to include me.
Some of the work I was carrying out had real client value and by the end of the internship I was becoming more involved in larger pieces of work. The intern project we were assigned felt that it may have real impact on Aon's future business and we were encouraged to collaborate with colleagues across the business.
While my degree subject is unrelated to the actuarial field, I feel that a lot of the soft skills I developed will serve me well in my course and beyond. The experience of working virtually should be useful if work in the future is moving to be more flexible. I also learned a lot about pensions and investment thanks to the various training sessions and informational materials we were provided. This will definitely help my financial future.
Everybody in the office seemed lovely and they were always really helpful when I needed to ask questions. I was very grateful when senior leaders reached out to me and made efforts to make me feel included. Due to the virtual nature of the experience it was difficult to get a full appreciation of the office dynamic. However, I definitely got the sense that senior leaders were making efforts to foster a good working environment.
As discussed previously, a lot of thought had been put into reorganising the internship to work better virtually. The frequent webinars and learning sessions really helped keep us engaged and provide a structure to the rest of the internship. The intern project was really useful to as it gave us the opportunity to work with interns outside our business line. A variety of IT equipment was sent out and if there were any issues with working arrangements, a lot of effort was put into resolving them
Many online training courses were provided, covering both retirement and investment. You could even ask to be included in training sessions outside of your business practices also. Some sessions were more useful than others but at least it felt like they were trying to give us a broad experience. Furthermore, there were many sessions with senior leaders across Aon which helped us develop a better sense of the company. It is a shame that the typical in person training/onboarding activities could not take place; however, this was unavoidable.
Working from home
Due to COVID-19 and the upcoming merger with WTW there is still a lot of uncertainty with regards to recruitment for next year. Sometimes the messaging could be a little mixed with one day everyone sounding really positive about graduate opportunities and the next, sounding more pessimistic. The early years team did provide a timeline for the graduate recruitment process but what happens remains to be seen. However, usually it seems that the vast majority of interns get graduate offers for the next year.
While there was no in person contact with graduates, I think the virtual nature of the internship actually improved my interaction with the other interns. Had it went ahead, I would have been the only intern in my office. But because everyone was working from home, all the other interns put a lot of effort into keeping in touch with each other. I quite enjoyed meeting everyone and I am glad I had the opportunity to do so.
I had a flat in Glasgow so decided to do my internship from there. Glasgow is probably one of the best value cities in the UK. The cost of living is much lower than other cities in the south of England and being the size it is, there is still plenty of entertainment and enjoyment to be had. It is definitely one of the better cities to live and work in. Plenty of opportunity all around.
Glasgow is a very good city for nightlife. There is something for everyone. Naturally, due to the pandemic, I did not have the opportunity to make the most of this, however.
The early years team did organise social events like quizzes; however, these were not as good as in person events. In fairness, the virtual working makes it incredibly difficult to organise socials and events outside of work. Unfortunately due to the short nature of the internship I was unable to partake in any office social activities; however, my buddies did organise a virtual lunch with the other gradutes/apprentices in the office which helped me meet everyone.
Internship (1-4 Months)
20th August 2020