• The Role
  • The Company
  • The Culture

    The Role

  • 1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
  • The internship opportunity at Discover Financial Services was unlike no other. It provided not only the technical capability to fulfil my wants, but it also provided me an international opportunity, to spend around 8 weeks in Chicago at the headquarters in Riverwoods. By being at the headquarters and meeting many of the senior leadership, meeting my American counterparts and learning more about the company, I learned more than I would have expected, which in return I decided to join the company as a graduate.


  • 2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
  • My day would start with a catch up with my team, although a small team, they were incredibly technical. Following this catch up, I would then meet my mentor daily to ensure I had a good level of work to get on with and to ask questions before I started. My mentor was always highly available if I did need a hand, and he did not only give me answers but got me to question myself in a way that I had never before. This made me feel incredibly valued.


  • 3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
  • I was supported throughout the whole process by different teams. I have constant one to ones with my mentor, I had another buddy who was there to support me with any further questions about my own job or Discover in general and I would meet my manager once weekly, who was based in the UK while I was in the US. Senior leadership were always happy to meet me and discuss about themselves and give me the time of day to listen to me and my ideas.


  • 4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
  • On a daily basis I was a busy as I wanted myself to be. There was always a good continuous stream of work that I could attach myself to do, but it was down to me to decide what I wanted to work on. As someone who enjoys learning and trying different things I was incredibly busy, and between working I would meet up with different people, including managers to discuss more about Discover and their departments and how everything fits together.


  • 5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
  • On my placement I was given the same amount of responsibility as a full time employee would have. The code that I was working on was relevant to progress and user stories or tasks that had to be completed by someone. I was seen as the same level as a full time employee and not as an intern and so I had responsibility over making sure that my work was completed, with my team members always having my back.


  • 6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
  • My mentor noticed that I used the UI a lot and so he challenged me to use only the terminal to achieve what I needed to complete. I took this challenge on board and I found myself a much better developer going back to university. The skills I learned during that period are still in use now after coming back as a graduate, but not only the technical skills, but the soft skills training that I had.


    The Company

  • 7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
  • The general atmosphere in the office was incredibly relaxing. Work would always be completed but there was always time for fun and jokes. After returning as a graduate I have noticed this more than ever, where everyone shares the Discover values and behaviors, we are all accepting of each others differences, which leads to a relaxed environment, where we can laugh together and work together. Regardless of your level at Discover this atmosphere was shared amongst the senior leadership all the way down to graduates.


  • 8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
  • For an international internship, it was set up very well. The process that I went through was streamlined even more recently and so it would be an easier process for future interns. I was not left in the dark at any moment. I was constantly communicated to with what the next steps were. I was provided a hotel for a week in Farnborough to stay and work in the UK office before flying to America. The long term stay inn in America was amazing, as over 100 interns all stayed in the same residential area and this was all set up incredibly well. There were no issues and if there were any they were solved immediately.


  • 9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
  • I was given the opportunity to select which team I would be interested in joining for my internship. I selected DevOps as that was somewhere I was interested in exploring and so I got the development expected from a DevOps Engineer. Discover offers employees access to Udemy for Business which means that even in my free time I had access to teach myself any new skills that I was interested in. There were always opportunities to talk to more experienced people.


  • 10. What were the perks on your work placement?
  • Flexi Time

    Sports and Social Club

    Subsidised/Company Gym

    International Travel

    Company Parties/Events

    Staff Sales/Staff Shop

    Above 25 days holiday

    Working from home

    Travel loan


  • 11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
  • Discover has a policy where if you are not happy with your role, you can bring this up to your leadership and you can have discussions about where you may want to go and steps to get into that positions. There have been examples of individuals joining as developers but ending up in HR. These prospects were a huge selling point to me as I feel that Discover valued my opinion and what I wanted to achieve, rather than trying to shoe me in somewhere.


    The Culture

  • 12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
  • There was an incredible social scene amongst fellow placement students. As we were staying with international students (100+ people) in a long stay inn for around 8 weeks, there were so many opportunities to go to Chicago, which was only a 30 minute train ride from the inn. We would all get together on a daily basis and either play outdoor sports, or play indoor games, especially on Fridays and Saturdays where we would all do something different.


  • 13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
  • Discover covered the cost of living, which I appreciated as an intern. The fact that Discover covered not only a trip to America, but living expenses such as the hotels, travel to and from work and other social factors such as train tickets to Chicago was exceptional. Breakfast was covered by the hotels and they would continously have food throughout the evening. The only time I had to pay for anything was buying groceries and when I was downtown in Chicago and eating out at restaurants.


  • 14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
  • Being in Chicago on the fourth of July was incredible as you got to experience the social factor of this. The nightlife itself was fun. There were all kinds of events that took place during the night, for those people who were interested in just playing games or going out socially for drinks, there were all kinds of opportunities. As Chicago is a major city, there are a lot of EDM shows, which I attended as many as I could!


  • 15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
  • Being with interns around the same ages as you, there were many shared interests between the interns. This meant that there were many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work. Personally for myself after work I would meet up with individuals and train at the work gym, which is larger than any gym I go to in the UK. Following this there would always be some form of activity going on, whether it be going to the beach, playing games round someones apartment, going downtown to chicago or just hanging out by the pool.


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Internship (1-4 Months)


November 2020

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