Most undergraduate business students have the opportunity to take their third year out in industry (placement year) and do a one-year internship. Not only does this give great exposure to the working world whilst being a student, but it also allows you to meet new people and learn new skills. However, it takes time and resilience to get through the application process (even though almost everyone is in the same boat as you)!
As second year approached, I wasn’t sure if I still wanted to do a full-year internship. I started applying for both summer and year-long internships and decided that I would keep my options open. Many countless applications and tiresome online assessments later, I was offered a one-year placement at an engineering consultancy firm. I couldn’t wait to start my first job!
It was exciting being in the office as I moved to London for the year. It was a new city, new people and an entirely new workspace. I quickly made friends as the company’s graduate community was huge. As my team were mostly graduates, I quickly made friends and corporate life grew on me. I was enjoying working on projects and weekly line manager meetings enabled me to set goals that I wanted to achieve, which helped me complete my university reflective essays. I was surprised and delighted by the level of autonomy and responsibility I was given. My ideas mattered and I was glad I could make a small contribution to the workplace before I left.
Unfortunately, when COVID-19 impacted the UK, my placement year was ended, and I was furloughed. Nonetheless, it was an unforgettable experience, and I would recommend it to anyone who has the chance! Although COVID-19 has impacted placement experiences, businesses have coped well with remote working and it’s still an accurate representation of working life.
Here are a few reasons you might consider not doing a placement
• Alongside the time required for job applications, placement adds on an extra year to graduating.
• A few of my friends that didn’t have a large graduate community in their company didn’t enjoy their year out as much as I did.
• There’s always a worry you won’t enjoy your role or the company – so make sure you get a good gauge of your interviewers and ask them about the working environment!
Whilst applying for graduate jobs this year, I’m amazed to see how much I’ve grown as a professional individual. There were many components that the corporate environment taught me, such as communicating professionally, understanding how business processes work and learning that it’s worth spending the extra time to get work right the first time.