I enjoyed the experience very much, and to be honest, it was significantly better than expected. The technology provided by HSBC worked excellently and it complimented the role I had excellently. If I had a problem, they were quick to resolve it and they were keen on helping me make the most of the internship. Obviously, having the internship virtual isn't ideal, but it's an excellent option for those interested in working remotely or looking to work from home over summer!
Most of the time I felt very valued. They had specific days catered towards interns emotional, technical and career development. You can tell they really want you to succeed and get a graduate role with the. When it came to doing actual technical work, I felt slightly useless, not because they made me feel like that, but because the level of work I produced was far from "excellent and professional". They always try to make you feel valued and just because you're an intern doesn't mean you're of less value to the company.
I received so much guidance and support. For every intern there is a graduate mentor that coaches you through your journey and is always there for you to help you out. I think this initiative helped me a lot, I was speaking to someone close to my age who was in the same exact situation a me 2 years ago. And generally, the company culture is very friendly and welcoming, they try their best to make you feel included and they often ask for your opinion and if you need help.
I come from a completely different background to finance, banking and economics, so it is slightly difficult for me to find ways to apply the technical knowledge I acquired into my subject. However, I gained many skills which I can use indirectly into my degree! I learned how to make better and more professional presentations, I learned how to make my reports more concise and ramble less, and I also learned how to have professional conversations after all the meetings I had with my manager and team.
It was very well structured in terms of organisation and making time for experiences. I don't feel like I have missed out much from the real face-to-face experience with the virtual one I had instead. There were a lot of speakers and events who guided us through our journey, and there was always something to do; whether it was some learning modules, attending talks, fundraising … etc and many more. There was never a point where I though to myself "they're lost, they don't know what they're doing".
The atmosphere and company culture have been incredibly nice and welcoming. Before the internship started we had multiple introductory calls where the interns had virtual socials and got to know each other more. From day one, the intern programmes team a HSBC made us all feel welcome and always stressed the concepts of "empathy" and "communicating your concerns". Everyone in the company genuinely wants to see you grow, develop, succeed and reach your career goals.
There were 2 inductions days at the start of the internship which started at 8:30am and finished at 5:30pm. The induction days were very intensive and gave us a lot of knowledge about the technical aspects of our roles as interns, the inductions also prepared us for the weeks to come. Throughout the internship there was something called the "speaker series" where people from HSBC would come and talk about their careers and how it had developed over the yeas, this gave me with so much insight on the company work-life and made me more excited for continuing with the company. There was also a long development day dedicated to all the interns where we had professional speaker come and speak with us about ways that we can optimise our time in the internship so that we can gain the most out of it.
I am not sure because I have no experience working with the company asides from working virtually. However, I am certain that the people in the company are the same regardless of whether they are working in person or online, so I see the friendly and caring company structure being the same. Conversely, I am not sure how meetings might be. I often find it easier to ask questions over virtual meetings than in real life, this could be the case with many other people as well.
The virtual experience helped me a lot in understanding the company culture. Given that I am already online, I had access to a lot of help and support resources that made me realise the magnitude of which HSBC cares about its employees. There are so many places where you can reach out for help, and everyone is so keen about giving you the best experience and helping you as much as possible. Openness, empathy and understanding are core values to HSBC, and they really do live by it in the company from what I have seen virtually.
Given that I come from a completely different career path, I still find myself confused by the options I have working in the world of banking. The internship was more of a "taster" session of what it might look like and I do find myself drawn to the division of banking that I worked with. However, because the internship was only 5 weeks, I couldn't formulate a career path decision that quickly and I feel uneasy saying that "working in this division is what I want to do for the rest of my life". With that being said, given the circumstances (pandemic), HSBC did a good job giving us an introduction about our roles.
The salaries were increased as soon as we were told the internship was going to be virtual! This was shocking because they were already paying enough for an internship and now they are paying almost the double. Additionally, any expenses I had during the internship (for fundraising projects) were reimbursed. During the interview and assessment centre stage of the application, we were also reimbursed for travel expenses (train, tube, taxi, hotel .. etc). They have been very generous in their reimbursements and salaries.
There were so many opportunities for networking and meeting other employees of the company. There were weekly talks from colleagues in different divisions where they shared stories of their career progression. There were multiple internship related projects running simultaneously which required a lot of networking with people. Even before the internship started, we had the opportunity to speak to graduates about their journeys, and take their advice, and connect with then on LinkedIn! In the induction, celebration and development days, we also had very senior speakers come and answer our questions.
There has been an abundance of networking and social events both during and after work hours. Social events were either organised by HSBC or by interns themselves, and there was often a noble cause around the socials like starting donations to charitable organisations or discussing ways for improved diversity and inclusion. Other times, the socials were purely for fun, we would have virtual coffee chats, play bingo or other fun games to get to know each other better, which was also an opportunity for networking.
Yes! They were easily accessible and were often sent via email and placed into my calendar, these could be volunteering, fundraising or event sports activities. We were told about these opportunities well before the internship started so we were well acquainted with the potential extracurriculars. Interns also had the opportunity to set up their own extracurriculars and invite colleagues and other interns to join them. The events were ether posted on the intranet or emailed directly to me.
Yes, I have recommended it to my friends already and I will recommend it to my siblings when they are old enough to start one. I think the internship was as good as it can get virtually. The technology we had was excellent, the care HSBC invested into us was incomparable, and the amount of effort placed into organising the internship is unrivalled. If I can do another virtual internship next summer, I would. I am very grateful for this opportunity to be the first cohort having a virtual internship from HSBC.
Banking - Retail
9th September 2020