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Undertaking an internship: What's it like to do a summer internship?

13 December, 2016Harry Back

Harry Back is a third-year student at The London Institute of Banking & Finance. Find out more about our undergraduate qualifications here. 

During my internship, a typical day for me consisted of waking up at 7:30am, getting ready and then commuting to work. Luckily, I was based in a Handelsbanken branch in my town, which meant the commute was not as long or as tiring as it could have been! I think it's key to be aware of where you will be based when choosing your internship.

I was based at a relatively new Handelsbanken branch, and that meant that my work covered a wide range of tasks and varied from day to day, which made working there really enjoyable. My main focus was the Account Manager Support (AMS) role. The AMS role is considered key to understanding Handelsbanken, and I think the role will help in my long-term career development.

When I first started, I had a meeting with my line manager which focused on what I would like to get out of the internship, which made me feel really supported in the company. My work was then shaped around these goals and enabled me to experience a variety of roles within the branch whilst still maintaining emphasis on the AMS role.

One thing I found quite challenging was going from an academic learning environment to professional working environment. However, studying at such a specialist university meant that I was able to put into practice the theory and knowledge I’d already learnt and I felt really prepared.

By the end of the internship, it didn’t feel like an internship – it was more like I was going to work every day. In my office, all my colleagues were highly experienced and knowledgeable professionals, and I was able to engage with colleagues, ask questions and listen to workplace discussions, which allowed me to build on my knowledge in a professional working environment.

Over the eight week period, my IT skills improved immensely, but I wish I’d placed a higher emphasis on developing and maintaining a higher level of IT knowledge and experience in my first two years of university, as these are very important in the financial services sector. However, now I’ve identified this through my internship, I’m aiming to actively work to improve it over my last year of study before starting my career. 

I feel like my internship has been invaluable in terms of my self-development. My confidence in a professional working environment has improved, and I'm much better at communicating both verbally and orally. I feel the internship has prepared me for professional working life, as I was able to build up a vast skill set during my internship.

I also felt that I learnt a lot about myself – particularly how much I enjoyed working during my summer break! It honestly has been such a great experience and I am excited to begin working and starting my professional career after my final year of study. It has been a great experience and has provided me with a valuable insight into the banking sector and the insight I have gained means that next year I will be making an informed decision when choosing my future career.

Read Harry's top tips for applying for internships here. Learn more about our undergraduate degrees and how you can undertake an internship as part of your degree.