NatWest arranged a wide range of interesting talks about not only the business but the sector as a whole and it’s future. This was thought provoking and informative when considering future career paths in the finance sector.
Talking to the current graduate scheme students was particularly interesting. They were incredibly warm and gave relatable, relevant advice about the job and application process.
I would definitely do this NatWest insight scheme again and recommend it to anybody else.
2. To what extent did you feel valued during your time at the company or firm?
Despite not being able to complete any work or tasks for NatWest due to the short time frame and it being virtual, it is clear that NatWest values their future potential employees. A wide range of NatWest employees, from multiple levels of seniority in the company, took time out of their schedules to talk to us and advice us. The community feel in the company, particularly present in the graduate scheme students, seems warm and consistent.
3. How much guidance/support did you receive during the insight?
As we weren’t doing specific tasks we did not need to receive specific support for that. However we were given a lot of more general advice relating to the business, the finance sector and the application process. There was a decent time allocated for questions by each speaker and there was also a drop-in Q&A session every day held by the talent acquisition team, which was incredibly useful and provided us with more specific answers and support.
4. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and information you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The information received will be incredibly useful during the application processes for internships and job applications everywhere, not just at NatWest.
I would not say that it will help me in my studies, as the information was more about the skills we should build on and demonstrate, rather than using the time to actually build these skills.
However it will still be useful after university when searching for experience, graduate jobs or even further education opportunities.
5. How well structured was the insight?
Despite having lots of room for technical issues due to being on Zoom, the sessions were well-thought through and no problems occurred.
We had time to meet small groups of the other Insight students and work with them, similarly to if the sessions had been in person. Some of the speakers also had interactive work to do through Zoom which was enjoyable and everyone seemed to engage.
All of the speakers had a good talk/Q&A balance.
NatWest did really good job making this Insight Scheme useful despite the current challenges.
6. How was the general atmosphere during your insight?
The staff made us all really comfortable and eluded a warm atmosphere during the Insight schemes. T hey didn’t assume any prior knowledge, avoiding any negative sense of superiority or worrying about asking ‘silly’ questions.
Students did seem engaged, such as during the Q&As and the interactive And collaborative portions of the sessions which was helpful and added to the productive feeling during the Insight scheme. This helped to stay motivated and an engaged even over Zoom.
7. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
The employees at NatWest invested a decent chunk of time in all of us particularly in planning useful sessions in such a different format to what they would usually deliver.
It was clear they cared about us and the sessions. They did not make us feel as though this time was worthless for them.
They were not able to connect with us one-on-one due to the Zoom format but they were happy to answer questions and said that if we needed any further information we could contact them.
8. To what extent did the insight help you to understand what it would be like to have a full time role with the company or firm?
The session delivered by the current NatWest Graduate students was the most useful in giving me an insight into having a full time role in the company. They each discussed their experience in their role which was useful before opening the floor to questions from us.
The other sessions were useful in demonstrating the culture at NatWest such as their volunteering work. However they did not particularly explain what the job would be like at NatWest.
9. How much did the insight help you in understanding the company culture?
We had a whole session about the culture of NatWest which helped us to understand it.
However we also learnt it indirectly through the other sessions such as the session about ethics.
10. How valuable was the content in helping you to decide on your future career path?
As I didn’t get direct experience of the actual job I wouldn’t say that it helped me massively to decide upon my future career path. It is still a path I would consider after the Insight Scheme.
11. Were you paid or reimbursed adequately for this experience?
I would not have been expected to be paid for an Insight scheme and it was not advertised during the application of the scheme.
I was not reimbursed expenses because I did not have any as the sessions were on Zoom so I did not have to book any travel or accommodation during the Insight scheme.
I do not know whether they offer reimbursement during normal circulation as Covid had impacted the plans before these details were released.
12. Were there opportunities for networking and meeting other employees of the company or firm?
These opportunities were minimal as the Insight scheme was over Zoom rather than in person as it normally would be. Therefore we didn’t get to meet anybody who was not actively delivering a session to us as they were not in the call.
We were encouraged to contact the employees we did meet on LinkedIn if we had any further questions that they had not been able to answer. This was the extent of the networking.
13. How were the networking/ social event opportunities?
There were no social events as the Insight Scheme was over Zoom.
14. Did you find out about activities that employees can get involved in outside of work?
During a session about the culture of NatWest we students learnt about the opportunities to volunteer which are encouraged by the company. One employee talked about the volunteering she had gotten involved in and that NatWest was matching what she raised.
During another session we learnt about side projects that people can choose to pick up. One employee had taken part in a hack a thon to come up with new strategies alongside studying for her banking qualifications.
15. Would you recommend this insight to a friend?
It was an incredibly useful experience. It was great to get an insight into the culture at NatWest.
Learning about the ethics and future of this sector was really useful and thought provoking. It showed me that there was a lot more about the sector that I wasn’t aware of. It also brought up some points that could be discussed in interviews.
I would recommend it to anyone, even if they didn’t have a direct interest in NatWest or the finance sector.