This review was submitted over 4 years ago, so some of the information it contains may no longer be relevant.
I was mostly working in the Business Intelligence space, which fitted well with the previous University units I picked. The opportunities were vast, and I was able to explore my interests. I had exposure to client work, and traveled occasionally to client offices. I went on 11 training and workshop courses covering: PA's methodologies and ways of working, requirements, writing and interacting, and technology specific ones for QlikView and Qlik Sense. I worked closely with a Partner and was given a good level of responsibility.
I believe my colleagues value the work and contribution I have made, and we are all encouraged to seek feedback for the work we have done. I was treated like another member of staff, and because there are few placement students or interns, most people would think you are a recent graduate. I have helped others with different tasks, which has given me exposure to different areas of interest. It was rewarding to see my work being discussed and used, and we went on to win work based on some of what I had done.
Everyone is very approachable at PA, you are encouraged to ask if you need any help. My line manager gave me the ongoing support and advice needed, and we have regular meetings to see how I was progressing. I had a buddy and a mentor, and I spoke regularly too them.
There are no typical day to day tasks, so some periods can be very busy and challenging and I would need to manage my time well to prioritise tasks. Other times could be less busy when people are out of the office on client sites.
After a few months I was increasingly given more responsibilities. Quite early on in my placement I had met with a client to demonstrate a QlikView proof of concept, and within the first half of the placement I started working on a client project. I had created lots of proof of concept demonstrations which were used in bids and client meetings, and I also worked on 3 separate client jobs which were interesting. Working with a Partner was great, as I was given more responsibility and exciting challenges.
I believe the placement tied in with my course very well, it allowed me to explore my interests which has helped me decide what to do for my final year project. From taking part in many different training courses and workshops I have developed my technical skills in Business Intelligence and 'soft' consulting skills which will come in useful beyond my degree,.
The desks at the London offices are 'hot desks' meaning you don't have a fixed seat, this is good as you can sit next to new people each day. The point of this was to avoid people having their own offices and glass walls, and it has encouraged communication. You can approach anyone and they will be happy to chat and go for a coffee. You could send emails to anyone in the company and arrange a meeting.
There was no fixed structure for the placement which was good as you were not on a rotational programme. You have a good amount of freedom to explore your interests and take on different types of work from other people. I worked with over 50-100 people over my placement, which enabled me to be explore my interests and build connections.
The personal training and development was great. One of the benefits of PA is that it invests heavily in employees as it is an employee-owned firm. I was encouraged to go on as many training courses as I liked that I felt suitable to my role. PA runs lots of internal courses which helped me to develop my 'soft' consulting skills (communication, writing, presenting). I also went on external technical training courses (QlikView) which lasted 3 days. I also attended several external workshops which were very useful.
I was fortunate to be offered a job so will be returning after my final year at University. The company is undergoing changes to its strategy in relation to offerings and sectors, which is good as it mean PA focuses on their best strengths.
There was a good Christmas party which had good attendance and free buffet with drinks. There was also a summer party for our practice. IT Delivery has quite a few social events, such as monthly lunches, bowling, and curry nights. At the end of the week The George Pub down the road is busy with PA people. You can also attend PANI events which are graduate/analyst networking events in London.
As it was in one of the priciest areas in London, things like lunch, dinner and nights out can be quite pricey depending where you go. Drinks at pubs or bars are ~£5+, average lunches are ~£4-10, meals out are ~£10-20 but could be less if you went somewhere in the station or nearby pubs.
There were a few bars and pubs around, but you would need to go on the tube for most places.
There were a few things PA runs that you could get involved in such as Cycling club, and the Regatta. Apart from the social events there wasn't much, but that's because consultants lead busy lives and it's hard when they travel lots.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
Central London and City
4th August 2015