Use technical and analytical skills to model financial risk.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
The work has been interesting and relatable to my university degree and the people have been wonderful. The large intake of interns made socialising very easy outwith work and my colleagues were helpful and friendly from day one.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I felt very valued by my colleagues. I was given ownership of my work and the opportunity to add my own insights as much as I could. The work was also work that would have been completed by my manager had I not been there which gave me a greater sense of purpose in the role. The also treated me like any other colleague, letting me get involved in social events and even giving me a birthday present!
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
The internship itself was very structured and well organised. The work I was given was decided in advance and my manager was on hand to help if I needed it. Even when he went on holiday I was able to find help easily because the team work so closely together.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Throughout the internship I was very busy. It was a very busy time for the team and they were behind schedule before I arrived, which meant the work I did was really valued by them. While finishing my initial project I was already being briefed on the next thing I could help the team with.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given a lot of responsibility with the work itself as I completed two necessary annual papers and then updated a tool used by the team regularly to analyse data. Of course, as part of business procedure this was checked regularly on multiple levels so I never felt I was going to make a huge, costly mistake.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The projects I was given are directly linked to my degree studies and I was able to apply knowledge from previous years to the work. I will also be able to apply what I learned about the business and it's practices to my forthcoming studies and also developed technical skills (Excel) which will be very valuable during my final year of undergraduate studies. I also developed my networking skills and learned how to operate efficiently in an office/ business environment i.e. who to speak to and how to approach conversations with them to get what I need.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Very relaxed and friendly in comparison to other financial services firms. Everyone enjoyed a laugh when appropriate and the team ethic throughout my team was very strong.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Could not have hoped for more. Organised well in advance so I had an idea of the work I'd be doing, everything from day one to my last day went smoothly, even external team building exercises, development sessions etc. There were planned learning events set up for all interns in advance and others specifically for my stream (actuarial). I was included on the trainee actuary and department mailing lists from day one which meant I never missed out on any opportunities.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
There were various development sessions across the 10 weeks for all the interns to attend. As a group of four actuarial interns we met with over 20 senior members of staff from across the business who were vrey welcoming and keen to share their career experiences with us, something I found particularly valuable when thinknig about the direction of my own career.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Very appealing as a prospective actuarial trainee. The company offer a brilliant study package and because of this have a very high pass rate for proffessional exams in comparison to other firms. The breadth of different opportunities and experiences, and scope for movement across the business also make it very appealing.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Excellent, all of the interns (except those who lived locally, including myself) were put up in the same block of local apartments which were of a good standard. This meant people were always keen to mix and socialise together over the ten weeks, especially during the festival (Edinburgh).
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
It was standard prices for living in the city centre, accomodation for most interns was taken care of by Standard Life which helped a lot. Prices of socialising increase in some areas during the festival but you can always budget and find cheaper alternatives.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Nightlife is excellent in Edinburgh, the whole city is thriving due to the Fringe festival. As well as standard bars and clubs there are a lot of pop up venues and live shows of all kinds to go and see.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There are lots of sports/social clubs at Standard Life, although it can be difficult as an intern for quite a short space of time to get involved. There are opportunities to go to career development events such as FASS (Faculty of Actuaries Student Society) networking events along with trainees from all of the companies in Edinburgh.