During my internship I was fortunate enough to get involved in a project around how the company is invoiced by our documentation suppliers. This process was complicated and I created a guide to explain how the process ran and suggested improvements to be made. This gave me exposure to other areas of the business and I was able to present my finding to senior managers.
Why did you choose to do an internship?
I chose to complete an internship in my penultimate year of university to improve my experience and knowledge and to increase my chances of obtaining a job after I finished my degree. I had three months off over the summer so although I was working as an intern for nine weeks, I still was able to enjoy my summer. It gave me the opportunity to see whether finance was going to be something that I was interested in, without committing to a full-time job in the department. I was also very keen to experience what an office environment would be like, as I had never had this chance in previous jobs.
How did it tie in with your overall career plans?
I have never been sure what I would like to do as a career. As I was studying maths, finance seemed like the obvious decision. As I knew very little about finance, but thought it might be of interest, I did some research and found it a good fit for my skill set. An internship is ideal for someone who isn’t necessarily certain about where they would like their career path to take them, as it gives them an idea of the different departments within a division that it is possible to work in.
What was the application process like? Any advice?
The process was much like that of any other internship application. It comprised four competency-based questions including: ‘why you are interested in the company and role?’, then numerical and inductive reasoning tests, followed by a telephone interview; running through your experience on your CV, and further competency-based questions. If you are successful at this stage, you are invited to attend an assessment centre containing an interview and a presentation. When completing the online application form, it is crucial that your CV looks as professional as possible and details all of your experience correctly. You must ensure that the spelling and grammar is accurate – you would be surprised by the number of applications with errors in! Another tip is to try and be original when answering questions – this will help you to stand out and proceed to the next stage of the application process.
What attracted you to the role?
I am local to Guildford, therefore I was looking for a job that was commutable from home. Allianz is a global company with a huge number of opportunities and I was particularly drawn by Allianz’s commitment to their staff. I felt my personality fitted with the company. The idea of being able to see what all of the different departments within Finance do was particularly attractive, as this opportunity is not one which is normally available.
What were the most important things you learned from the internship?
I learned not to be afraid to ask questions and that having good relationships with your colleagues is key. I found that it is crucial to make the most of the opportunity given to you and try to make a good impression and a name for yourself. I discovered that Allianz was a company that I would like to work for and, as I enjoyed my time within Finance so much, I was keen to return as a graduate.
Do you have any advice for someone seeking an internship?
My top tip is always to spend time completing the application form. Run through it with your family, friends or lecturers to ensure it is of the highest possible standard. Rushing through a large number of applications is rarely successful and it is more efficient to do research in advance to find a few internships that you are really keen on and investing your time in completing those.
What skills did you acquire or improve during your internship?
I learned how to communicate within a workplace, which is a key skill that I was glad to have gained early on in my career. My Excel skills improved significantly, along with my insurance and general financial knowledge.