Intern in the Change Management team, managing change requests on the IT side of the business
The internship was overall a very positive experience. The work I completed felt like it had real relevance for the business and I learnt a lot about the company, its ethos and its way of doing things. There was no pressure to commit to a graduate role afterwards, which I can see being a real issue in other internships, so that made it much easier to just relax and get on with things. The charity day was the best day by a mile and something really worth getting involved in! The social side was a real bonus too; living in apartments with all the other interns was a lot of fun, especially once the Fringe started.
I was part of a small team of 3 people. Both were on holiday individually at various points over the summer so quite often I made up half of an important team, and I was given a lot of responsibilty in the running of their day to day activities. This responsibility increased as the internship went on. I was given 5 deliverable tasks to work on, a couple of which were very important to the team, and felt valued while working on them and afterwards when they were put into use. Everyone was very friendly and there were 2 team socials where everyone could get to know each other a lot more. There was also lots of cake every time someone had a birthday, which gives a slight insight into the ethos and friendliness that David Nish encouraged here as CEO.
I was well supported in the work I was given; asking questions was strongly encouraged and I was never made to feel inexperienced despite being the newest member of the team. My responsibilities were slowly increased as the internship went on, which was a good support mechanism as my manager could easily slow the increases if I was struggling on a piece of work. I was also well supported when I had to leave the team to do extra-curricular intern activities; these were frequent, and it was well managed so that they never felt imposing on my work.
When I got working on a task, I was very busy and these were when the work was the most enjoyable. However, there were gaps between each work task that sometimes felt a little monotonous. There was also a lot of twiddling thumbs waiting around for meetings. Partially this is my fault - there were plenty of opportunities to get involved with work outside of my team in other areas of the business, but it was difficult to schedule anything as I didn't know when work would become more busy.
The amount of responsibilty you get here really depends on how much responsibility you want. I was involved in the day to day running of our team and given 5 key tasks to complete, all of which were certainly important to our team and a couple of which had clear benefits for the wider business. My ownership of these tasks was managed by my team but only to an extent - there was a lot of trust and responsibility given. If I had messed something up my team would have been able to step in straight away, but it was a confidence boost to see that messing up would actually impact the business (showing that my work was important).
If you are a fan of the corporate world and intend on taking this kind of role in the future, I imagine the skills and training would be a lot more useful. We had access to a library of training videos, of which I took a couple of basic HTML courses that were very user-friendly and useful. However, a lot of the courses were very business oriented and felt much less helpful or relevant. We were also given access to the official Strengthsfinder test, which I personally see as a waste of time but costs a lot of money usually. A support session was given to analyse our strengths as well. Overall the training and development weren't very suitable for me but I saw other people clearly take a lot from them.
Very friendly! Cake on birthdays, informal dress after the Dress for the Day initiative was introduced. Work nights out strengthened links within the team, who felt more like friends than managers by the end of the placement. It was very easy to approach people's desks and ask for help. At the same time, it was clearly a professional environment - the atmosphere never prevented business or felt too jovial. Would struggle to find a way to improve the atmosphere in the office.
Generally, the internship activities and the day to day work activities strongly complemented each other. It was easy to book time out of my work to attend the weekly graduate meetings and internship sessions.The internship sessions were generally relevant and well organised, although sometimes there was a lot of repeated information given to us so this could be tightened up. The charity day was a really good idea and I would strongly encourage the organisers to maintain this aspect of the internship. The work provided within my team was all challenging but at the same time deliverable within my team, which must have been difficult to set up but ran quite seemlessly.
I felt like the company have invested a lot in me, both in terms of time and money. Training at times felt a little one-size-fits-all, which could have been slightly more tailored to relevant areas. We were also spoken to by the CEO and COO in our intern inductions, which was great considering how busy they both were.
I can see how easy it would be to progress with this company, and the jump from intern to graduate role is well supported and appealing. However, I have learnt during my time here that this is not the company or job for me. Don't let this reflect badly on Standard Life because the graduate programs seem great, it is just that corporate culture is not for me and it is unavoidable in this organisation. All the IT training is ITIL and parts of IT are introducing agile methodology, which are a great start to a corporate IT career if that is what you are after. I would say that objectively speaking the employment prospects are really strong, but subjectively it is not for me.
The social scene was the best bit, it was like living in uni halls but less intense. There were around 30 interns here over the 10 weeks, of whom the vast majority lived in the same apartment complex. This gave rise to a very friendly and open environment. Everyone was so friendly and there were opportunities to get involved in everything, but at the same time there wasn't ever pressure to go out and many quiet weekends would absolutely have been an option. The social scene got particularly good once the Fringe started, for obvious reasons.
Apartments are free and fully serviced, which reduces costs dramatically. The only expensive thing was going on nights out - drinks are expensive in clubs with it being a major city, as you would expect. Compared to other internships where people are paying rent as well, though, the cost of living was absolutely negligible.
Nightlife was strong. There was so much on offer - with so many interns, there were always different options on the weekend (and largely through the week too). Somebody would always be going clubbing, or to a nice local pub, or just out and about to explore Edinburgh, or having a quiet night in watching films and TV, and it never felt like there was pressure to do any specific thing. Again, this improved dramatically once the Fringe started, with things booked in advance as well as adventures to find hidden (free) gems. Everything is easily walkable from the flats too, although there will always be someone getting a taxi that you can share.
Absolutely, as above. Lots going on, everything felt available to anyone. The intern community was so friendly and open because everyone was essentially in the same boat, and I guess friendliness is encouraged in the Standard Life ethos.