Bethany – discovering where her degree could take her

Gaining some work experience was the main aim when Bethany started looking for a placement opportunity. She had also heard that doing a placement could increase her employability after graduating. The money was an appealing factor too.

The value of a placement

"I wasn’t sure what I could do with my degree nor what I wanted to do, so I took it as an opportunity to try a role to better understand what I wanted to do after university. Either way I saw it as a good idea - if I didn’t enjoy the role I knew that I shouldn’t apply for that in the future, and if I did I could potentially go back or look for graduate roles in that area after graduating."

Increasing responsibilities

"I did my placement in GE Capital, based in Aztec West in Bristol. I worked on the Risk Analytics team, particularly on the Commercial Distribution Finance portfolio. My role involved working with data in order to manage customers and their losses for the company, and make recommendations for other teams using this information. I was very lucky to be on this portfolio as it was spread across Europe and as such I spent most of my days speaking to colleagues in countries like Germany, France, Norway and Finland, and was able to fly out to Germany for a week to meet some of my colleagues there.

"Alongside this I was also involved in projects, one of which I was the team leader of and ran for over 6 months, looking at increasing e-signature penetration in customers. The others looked at new advancements in technology and enhancing the on-boarding process for new interns, so what I was able to work on, on a daily basis, was both varied and interesting."

Developing a variety of skills

"GE Capital take on a huge number of interns per year so the role was well set out and the other people working there were happy to help you, give you extra projects and move you around the departments to get more exposure.

"I have been offered a job back in the team after graduation, which is great because I didn’t have to worry about job hunting, and the fact that my manager wanted me back was a big confidence boost."

A recommended route

"If you are considering it, definitely do it if you can. Even those who didn’t enjoy their role seem to be glad they went as it gives you great exposure and a greater understanding of the sort of jobs you should be looking for after graduation. Sites like ratemyplacement were great, particularly as I hadn’t heard of GE before and didn’t see the role up on any other job sites, and it also offered reviews of the role by past interns. On that note, don’t be put off applying for a job just because you haven’t heard of the company.

"If you have a placement set up, my advice would be to ask for as much as possible in the way of training and exposure once you start. When I started I wasn’t fully comfortable asking my manager to fund me in training and let me spend days in other teams, but when I finally got the courage to ask he was completely happy for me to do all this and then started putting me in touch with colleagues across the UK to help me gain exposure. That was fantastic and was really helpful in learning the role, so I wish I’d asked sooner! Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and ask if you see value in it."

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