Investment Operations intern within the Investment Operations Controls Team. IOCT responsibility- overseeing controls and third party relations to make sure company operations are managed in a controlled environment.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I really enjoyed it. I was given lots of work and made to feel valued by my team. There were lots of team building exercises with other interns, so we formed a community and got to know each other really well. Within SLI, it was always made sure that we were enjoying what we were doing and we were given work that was both challenging and enjoyable.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I felt like a valuable member of my team despite the fact that I had no experience of Investment Ops before coming into SLI. I was given real work and projects that involved a high level of research and review by my seniors. I went along to many meetings with external companies which showed that I was an important part of the team. I got to know everyone really well and made friends within both my team and the interns.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I had a weekly one to one with my manager and also had regular meetings with my buddy, a current grad on the Ops grad scheme. All of my work was reviewed by someone senior, and if I ever needed help, it was easy to ask anyone else on the team.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I was very busy but was also always able to take an hour lunch break and go home on time. I was never bored, as even when I had less work I always had a long term project to do which meant that there was always something I could pick up. It was also easy to get more work if I needed it.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I oversaw real projects that were going on at the moment and felt like I was trusted by my seniors to do important work. Everything was reviewed which gave me extra comfort as it meant that any work I did do was checked by someone. I communicated reguarly with external companies and was encouraged to speak in meetings and conference calls and do a range of work.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I think the time management skills I learned were very valuable, as I developed the skill of putting long-term work to one side in order to focus on work that needed to be more of a priority. This will be useful, especially as I have a dissertation to complete this year, so I will need to balance that alongside my shorter term weekly work. I also developed my confidence in speaking to people who are very senior in the company, which will be useful in terms of increasing my confidence in any future jobs.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Everyone gets on really well and they are happy to chat. I didn't feel any different from anyone else despite being an intern, and there were many team building events. We went for team lunches and also on team nights out, and there were regular socials such as the Bingo. Furthermore, the grad and Young Persons Development Networks helped the interns to feel more included. The YPDN had a social at a pub which allowed us to meet more people, while the Ops grads took the Ops interns out bowling and for lunch. We were made to feel very welcome.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Generally the internship was very organised once I was here. When I was applying for the internship there was a small hiccup as my updated CV was temporarily lost, but once it was found everything ran really smoothly. Once I was at SLI everything was very well organised- there was a project prepared for me and HR set up lots of interesting and insightful learning days for us.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
SLI invest heavily in their interns to make sure that we actually do develop throughout the internship. We had almost weekly group sessions with all the interns which focussed on a range of subjects, from careers stories with people who had previously been on the grad scheme, to a charity challenge. These sorts of exercises allowed our team building skills to strengthen and also gave us a lot more knowledge of how Standard Life Group operates. We also got to do a Gallup Strengths Finder test, which was a good way of learning about what our personal strengths are and how we can best utilise them both inside and outside of the workplace.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
In Investment Ops it looks likely that if we perform well throughout the placement, as we have already completed the assessment centre used for Grad Schemes in the internship application process, depending on how many Investment Ops jobs are available for next year. The internship has really encouraged me that I would like to work for SLI if offered a job, as we've been able to see that grads are offered a high level of responsibility and treated well.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Most of the interns live in serviced appartments provided by Standard Life together, which means that everyone has got to know each other really well. There was a Social Committee who organised several events throughout the internship, including climbing Arthur's Seat and a Ceilidh, but outside this we have been to many Fringe shows and socialised every weekend. It's been really good fun and we've all made good friends.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
As Standard Life provide accommodation for us, this saves a lot of money. We were also paid well which made it a lot easier to socialise and enjoy living in Edinburgh. Edinburgh isn't the cheapest place for a night out, but having said that it is good fun and definitely worth the cost.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
There is a really good nightlife in Edinburgh and definitely something for everyone. There are lots of really cool bars, like the Jazz Bar and also a prohibition bar, and a good range of clubs, from the more cheesy ones to a couple of nights out at Warehouse type locations with bigger name DJs. During the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, there's loads to do as bars open up everywhere and there are also loads of plays and shows to see which means there's loads of fun to be had outside work.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Definitely- there were work nights out which meant that we got to do things like go to festival shows or go bowling. As all the interns lived together outside work, it really wasn't hard to have a really good social life ouside of work.