1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I thoroughly enjoyed the internship. I was given three interesting projects which I was able to make real progress on during my 8 weeks at Standard Life. My colleagues were all very willing to help me and I think this made it very easy to enjoy the work that I was asked to do. Standard Life were very accomodating - when there were specific areas of the business that I wanted to see, I was able to.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I felt very valued by my colleagues. In most meetings that I attended I was able to contribute my thoughts, something which my colleagues greatly encouraged. I was asked to provide handover meetings when I left, so it was good to know that the work that I completed will be used once I leave.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I was assigned a buddy and a placement manager, both of whom organised regular catch ups to discuss my progress. In addition there were a number of training sessions ran by Standard Life for all interns which I found very useful. My placement manager seemed genuinely interested in helping me progress and was very good at making it clear exactly what he expected from me. I set goals at the start of the internship and these were reviewed at the end - I was also given new goals to take away and work on which I think will be very beneficial.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
The nature of my role meant that there were natural peaks and troughs to the workload. Especially at the start it felt like I could have had more to do, but by the end of the 8 weeks I was very busy. However you can always ask for more work and as long as you communicate when you have more time, there is always something to be getting on with.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given responsbility to own my tasks and complete them how I wanted to. This suits my way of working as I like to learn as I go, however I imagine it could be frustrating if you prefer being told what to do. You also have to be interested in learning about Standard Life and their products, as this lets you take on more responsibility.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
As I was thrown in at the deep end I was able to develop skills which I didn't previously have. I have learnt more about the way I work, which will be useful for my final year but even more useful for my future career. I feel a lot more confident in my ability thanks to the structured nature of the internship.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
My team spends a lot of times in meetings so it is a very social role. However that means that there isn't always a lot of people sat at the desks during the day. Overall people were very willing to help.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The structured training slots, intern welcome day and regular catch ups are all very well organised. Clear instructions are given so you know exactly what is expected of you and how you can achieve it.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
My manager created and monitored development goals for me which was a very useful exercise. It is expected that you can teach yourself a lot so it is key that you are keen to learn and develop yourself. There were training sessions on presenting skills and networking which were insightful.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Although it may not be the sort of role that I want to have when I graduate, I would definitely recommend it to others as a internship / graduate job. There is a lot of freedom to choose what rotations you have on the graduate scheme with a view of specialising in something that you enjoy after two years. There is a good network of other graduates and there are very competitive perks as well.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
I qualified for free accomdation during my 8 weeks at Standard Life, as I lived outwith the commutable distance. This meant that I was living with around 25 other interns which was a great environment for socialising. There were regular drinks during the week, as well as sports, comedies and other events. Living in Edinburgh during the Fringe is something that I have really enjoyed and is a real perk to this internship.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
As we got the accomodation for free, we recevied more than enough money to eat and socialise. Although Edinburgh isn't cheap, it is cheaper than London where I worked last year. There are student deals to be found and I didn't find that I was counting down the days until pay day at all.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
The Edinburgh nightlife is very good. The office and accomodation is based very close to the centre, meaning that everything is within a walking distance. The bars and clubs are varied and you won't be bored of them by the end of your internship. It get's especially busy during the Fringe.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Standard Life had some societies however none really applied to my interests. We organised sports and events as an internship group, but there were rarely events with other people in the office.