Really interesting to hear from speakers from the chosen department as well as generally from the group. Encouraging and helpful advice from the recruitment team in applying to graduate roles and internships within the group. It was great speaking with others participants in the zoom breakout rooms, and learning about their current motivations and aspirations. Interactive zoom sessions using stickers and polls was the most fun aspect of the week - it was really fascinating learning about other people views on current affairs and workplace culture.
It was extremely encouraging to meet people behind recruitment, who showed their appreciation to the participants in taking the time to attend the virtual week and in applying. Of course the virtual nature of the insight week did make it difficult to interact with people in the way that we would usually in person. Participants also were reminded that they were part of the application process for the following year. The values of the group were highlighted in presentations and in the personalities of speakers and graduates. Interactive sessions reinforced this.
Very clear agenda emailed in advanced in addition to support guides for making the most of the insight week, and zoom setup. Zoom sessions were well organised - codes were sent well in advance, speakers and panels were supportive in enabling a discussion and addressing questions from participants. There were also dedicated presentations for careers advice and applications advice, as well as company values. Q & A sessions at the end of each day ensure that any other queries could be addressed.
Presentation on climate change and the environment provided much advice on living a sustainable lifestyle and encouraging others in the workplace to do so as well. As mentioned before, interactive sessions on workplace culture and emotional intelligence were the most applicable and insightful. There were additional talks on career development and experiences in the sector. It was also extremely helpful to hear advice from recent graduate s. It was quite interesting learning how they approached and solved different problems.
The insight week was very well structured. Initially thought it was a little short as each day started from 9am to circa 1pm. However, in hindsight the number of sessions was well balanced (as facing screens for half a day on video could occasionally be tiring). Appropriately, 10 minute breaks were also included in the agenda. Zoom sessions started and ended on time. As mentioned before session were clearly described beforehand in the emailed information pack.
Presenters maintained a good balance of professionalism and casual. The atmosphere usually depended on the number of people attending each zoom call as well as the speaker. Break out rooms and graduate sessions were extremely casual. The sector or department specific sessions were more relaxed than general talks to all participants from all departments. Recruitment and executive talks were semi formal and more informative rather than discussion based. Participants were generally very friendly and supportive.
Its quite difficult to say as most of the experience was virtual and it may have been a completely different experience if it had been in person. It wa squire clear that recruitment tried their best to accommodate for the majority of participants in different time zones, and so it is possible that each day was shortened to meet this requirement. The talks were sufficient in providing participants with immediate informative advice, and the interactive sessions were a good attempt at providing a more active experience.
As mentioned before, speaking to graduates close in age was really helpful in understanding their thought process during the application process as well as (after application) hearing how they have adapted to the a working environment, especially during the pandemic and working from home. The sector specific talks gave much more in depth information such as on day to day tasks, working hours, the types of people one would interact with. This created a much clearer picture of the role.
The decidcated presentation on company culture reinforced the values of the group and expanded on the meaning of those values within the company in addition to giving an insight into the future workplace culture the group aspires to achieve. The end of day q & a also clarified the typical working environment of the group. The most informative insight into company culture came from speaking to the speakers in the panels sessions and listening to employee interaction experiences with clients (for example).
The content was extremely valuble in helping me to decide and explore my future career path. The sector specific sessions really provided a window into the group and listening to other peoples' career journeys and the decisions that they made was very fascinating. In addition speaking to other applicants and listening to their experiences and motivations was encouraging. Without a doubt the insight would have been much more valuable if it had been in person, but it was nevertheless still great to hear from full time employees and graduates virtually.
At the time of applying it think the group might have been able to pay expenses (for travel or accomodation) of certain requirements were met. For this experience however, being reimbursed for expenses was not really required for the majority of applicants since the insight week was completely virtual and of course no travelling was required. I assume that in certain cases if you were severely disadvantaged due to reasons out of your control such as not being able to have access a computer, I am sure and hope that the group will try to be as accommodating as possible.
Yes, there were opportunities to meet other employees of the company during the speaker sessions or panel sessions and freely ask questions on their day to day working life, or for advice. Due to it being a virtual experience, it was not really possible to network with other employees outside of the zoom sessions. Moreover, the use of breakout rooms between participants was quite limited, and used specifically only for discussion based questions, rather than networking.
As mentioned above there were no spcial wcent opportunities due to the timing of the sessions from 9 am to 11 pm. The time the participants were able to speak to employees was very fluid and there did not seem to be any barriers in terms of being hesitant or not open. Again, due to it being a virtual experience, it was not really possible to network with other employees outside of the zoom sessions.
During the talks, there were a few activites etc. mentioned that employees could get involved in outside of work. These included several support networks for certain minority groups for women, and different ethnic groups etc.. In addition, I think from memory there were also mentions of volunteering initiatives and ongoing projects. There also seems to be a large environmental initiative (as mentioned before). Apart from that, the insight week was mainly focused on the day to day functions of the bank.
I would definitely recommend this insight week to a friend. Although the week was a little short and a bit passive due to its online nature, the quality of the presentations and the information covered during the talks in addition to the panels was invaluable. It can be quite difficult to sift through websites and articles which can at times vaguely describe and over generalise answers to questions. If this insight week was in person, I am sure it would add even more.