My first movement towards understanding what I want out of my career was to experiment with the unknown. I’ve always contemplated working in the public sector. Albeit lower salary, the ethics of the institutions within the public seem impervious to criticism. The private sector on the other hand are always portrayed as either neutral or negating the ethical. I did my internship at the Royal Bank of Scotland, within the Commercial & Private Banking programme. I didn’t really know much about banking before applying, other than what I had watched on The Big Short or seen on the news, so I certainly came with prejudices. However, working within the industry certainly helped me understand why we do depend on banking to improve our lifestyle in the modern day for the better.
My internship was over a 10-week period and from the dawn of my internship, I was sent to their headquarters in Edinburgh for my 3-day induction. But I soon learned this would be no breeze of a summer. We were told how the next three days would pan out, and this included randomly being selected to pitch ideas in front of our graduate-scheme recruiters (deciding who should be offered a job at the end of the internship) and making and performing presentations in front of the other 140 interns in an auditorium. I volunteered myself to do both. It was entirely nerve wracking, but it was also an important opportunity to introduce myself and create an image of myself in the way I desire it to be, in presence of both peers and my graduate-scheme recruiters.
My banking internship allowed me to meet with owners of businesses with a turnover of up to 50 million and discuss with them how the bank can fund against the asset that is their debtor book, thus freeing up cash flow for the business in low risk terms (Invoice Finance). I relished the opportunity because I was given real responsibility which would affect the bank and wealthy business owners, which provided me with a sense of achievement when the businesses performed well and our customers were happy. But by being in a bank and working with multiple people from different areas I also had exposure to Private Banking, Corporate Banking, Audit and more.
Throughout the 10-weeks, I was set specific challenges and projects to complete. This included a fundraising day, where I was allocated into a small group to compete against the other interns to raise as much money as possible within one day. As well as an independent presentation in front of my Manager and other key stakeholders on how challenger banks would affect RBS. My internship was also useful since it was focussed on my personal development into becoming a future leader, so their tutelage was beneficial both during the internship and presently, in my degree.
Completing an internship was not only great for receiving a Graduate Job offer, but it helped narrow my career desires. Unless you’re part of the minority that knows exactly what they want after they graduate, internships are invaluable in testing the waters of employment, but without serious commitment. Overall, it’s a fantastic experience and you won’t regret working through the summer.