By Ellen Welford
Re-wind to early February. I’ve heard that I’ve been successful in obtaining a place on a ‘Spring Insight’ week with a London-based firm and will be spending a couple of weeks centred in London over the vacation! Spring insight weeks are designed to give students in their first year of university an insight into the investment banking or investment management industry, and often involve days spent in different divisions, learning about the culture, life and work within the firm. They’re a really great opportunity and can help fast-track careers later on in the application process.
Late March rolls around, and the week is inevitably called off. However, the firm emails to let us know that they are working at making the spring week virtual, and we will still be given the same level of insight, but from the remote location of our own homes. The week was a great success: the HR team had worked really hard to make the programme as interactive as possible, given the plethora of technology issues and broken microphones! We heard from recent graduates about how they were finding working for the firm so far, and how they’ve been supported in the transition to working from home during lockdown. Senior management even took some time out of their day to provide insight into the work they do, and their advice on taking further steps to pursue a career in the sector. I managed to build so many great connections, both with the employees and the other students on the programme.
Experiencing the programme from home was not the most uninterrupted of tasks, however, with intruding siblings and dodgy WIFI breaking up lots of the speakers. Something I found really useful was making a ‘work area’ in my room, where there was nothing in my sight that could distract me, as this can be very tempting when your video streaming is off, and no one can see you! Additionally, I made sure my family was aware of the schedule of the day, and the times that I would be on a call, in order to minimise disruption and get the most out of the experience. Although it wasn’t quite two weeks in England’s capital, I am really grateful for the team for putting the time and effort into organising the event virtually and found it to be extremely insightful. If anyone has a virtual work experience during this time, I hope you manage to gain a lot from it and embrace the opportunity!