I really enjoyed the internship. I found it a great way to spend a summer since it provided great experience, an invaluable learning opportunity but also a lot of fun with the other interns. It definitely exceeded my expectations.
I felt very valued by the majority of my colleagues. Within my team, people asked for my opinion and perspective on issues and took my reccomendations seriously when it came to the projects I was working on. I was often asked to take on extra work and get involved with different pieces of work which made me feel as though I had real value to contribute to the team. I did encounter one instance of hierarchical behaviour from an employee in another area however this was recognised and addressed by my manager.
I was given as much support and guidance as I asked for. I worked far more independently that I had expected and was often simply trusted to make my own deicisions rather than be guided along the way. I found that I would have to be proactive in getting a 1:1 with my manager or supervisors since everyone was so busy. However, everyone was more than happy to make time for me when I asked for it. I was given support and guidance but also the freedom to shape my own work which was a great balance. I definitely felt that I had the full support of my team and nobody hesitated to lend a hand where it was needed.
This varied greatly at different points during the 10 weeks. Initially I felt like I had nothing to do which is quite unnerving given that you are keen to start demonstrating your ability. Also, at the beginning I found that I was very reliant on other people's input to get my work done which was a challenge since everyone else was very busy. However, after the first few weeks the work really starts to gather momentum and I found myself in a position where I had to start declining offers to get involved in new projects. I was potentially too impatient with my work load and got invovled in too many 'extra' bits which meant I felt overwhelmed when my primary project started to gather pace. I would say the placement is very flexible and that you can be as busy as you want to be once you settle in. In the last few weeks I had managed to strike a balance where I was kept going but not stressed out at all. My manager was very receptive and understanding of how I was feeling about my workload and created a new project for me when I was quiet and took a chunk away when I began to feel overwhelmed.
I was given a great deal of responsiblity from the word go. It took time to become comfortable with making decisions on my own where it seemed natural to check with others first. I was given the opportunity to present to very senior members of the organisation, hold my own meetings, create briefs etc. I was often handed a problem or a piece of work and left to run with it however I saw fit. I was always doing work that would have otherwise been completed by a permanent employee and never experienced work being held back from me based on my intern status. Again, it was very flexible and there were always opportunities to take on bigger challenges.
The experience I have gained will definitely give me a different perspective when I go back for my final year of univeristy. More so, learning how to operate in a large company has been invaluable. I have learned so much about the corporate environment that I could not have picked up without this experience. This has made me feel far more prepared and confident to go into a graduate job regardless of where that may be.
The office was very open plan and informal. You are able to get your head down and work in peace if you want but you are also able to have a chat and a bit of fun with those around you. The 'dress for the day' policy was introduced when I started which meant that you were able to wear whatever made you comfortable. I also moved around a bit since you can take any free desk and sit with other teams and shadow other areas. This sometimes meant sitting next to another intern and sometimes meant sitting next to someone very senior in the department. Everyone is very friendly and there is a strong sense of being a team. This was evident in lots of small ways such as people who have been here for years will ask if they can bring you a coffee or water. I found myself feeling totally at ease in the office very quickly. There are lots of communal break-out tables and sofas dotted around which really accomodates informal chats and collaboration with others.
My stream allowed us to select our own placement within the marketing department. The prospective managers presented to us in a sort of 'Dragon's Den' format and we chose where we wanted to be off the back of that. My placement was not as structured as others but it meant that I was able to find work where I wanted it which involved getting some experience in other areas I was interested in. There was no set timetable of tasks but rather a few ongoing pieces and some more sporadic projects which reflected what actual work is like in SL. I think it was a true reflection of what it is like to work here and not a contrived programme to follow.
We were given a personal development plan throughout the internship which involved several workshops and events. This ranged from testing our personal strengths to presentation skills to meeting people with interesting career paths. We were also given a charity challenge which was a great team building exercise that also allowed us some new experiences and challenges.
Very appealing. It's a great organisation to work for and you can tell the employees are very happy here. There is a very friendly, supportive atmosphere and people at all levels are really approachable. You can tell that the company are very keen to invest in you and tailor you a career path that you want. The office is very central and the pay is very competitive. I can definitely see myself back here after graduation.
Most of the interns were in shared accomodation which meant that there was always something going on. We established a social committee to organise the bigger events but there were lots of spontaneous outings which everyone was invited to. Everyone has been really friendly and nobody has ever been excluded. There have been lots of great nights out and there is plenty to choose from when the fringe is on. The company gave us budget to hold a ceilidh as well which was a great night. There is a real sense of community and its amazing how close you become to some people in a very short space of time.
Edinburgh itself is very expensive. Restaurants, shops, taxis and bars are all much more expensive that I am used to. Things definitely get pricier when the festival comes around as well. However, SL fully paid for our accomodation which meant that these costs were the only ones you had to worry about. The accomodation provided was 5 minutes from the office/city centre so everything was in walking distance. Having the accomodation provided made the internship feasible for me and any other costs are as great as you make them. There are cheaper spots about which you come to find as you go along. The salary provided is more than enough to have a great time in the city and all the interns are in the same boat.
The nightlife in Edinburgh was great. There are so many great bars and clubs that you honestly can't see it all. Especially when the fringe comes around, there are so many shows on that you are never at a loss for something to do.
There are plenty of sports clubs and networks within SL. There is a newly formed Young Persons Development Network which means you are able to meet other under 25's in the organisation in social situations. My team always invited me to social occassions outside of work such as dinners, lunches out and Friday drinks. There were also lots of charity events you could get involved with on behalf of the company.