The diary story of an Intern – month one
Day 1: Arrival in London
I arrived in London today – I’ve finally made it after all the preparation and I’m excited but nervous. I’m not too worried because the Tibra team I met at the University careers fair and from the firm’s HR department have been down-to-earth and friendly. I just hope everyone else is the same.
Day 3: I survived!
Yesterday was my first day at work. I haven’t seen much of London yet, but the office is awesome. It sits next to St. Paul’s and, being on the 11th floor, looks out over quite a bit of the city. There’s ping pong and a pool table to play on, and breakfast and lunch are free which is a big plus in an expensive city like London.
Meeting the other interns was a relief; they’re nice and just as jetlagged as me. Two of them went to Harvard and Stanford and I get the impression that most people here are from top Universities, they just don’t make a big deal out of it. Everyone is pretty relaxed and that’s reflected in the dress code. It doesn’t seem to matter what you wear, it’s your work that counts. I’ve been told that the idea behind it is that a relaxed environment will help you to do challenging work while enjoying it at the same time.
Last summer I worked in an investment bank where the hours were crazy and I was expected to be formally dressed. This time, I still wanted to work in the financial industry but somewhere where I could dress how I wanted and be myself. I think I might have found it.
Day 8: This is intense
This week has been the most challenging yet – there’s so much to learn. I feel totally stretched, but in a good way. Before starting here, I said that I was bored of Uni and wanted to do something different and this definitely fits the bill. Every day there has been something new for us to learn, whether it’s a task set by one of the team or a module from the Tibra University course.
Day 13: I’ve got this
There’s lots to learn but if you’re stuck on something, you just message someone on one of the teams and within a couple of minutes they’re at your desk helping you out. No question is seen as stupid which is good because it’s important to me to be able to ask a lot of simple stuff. The bank I interned at was very different and I was worried about being judged all the time, so filtered out a lot of what I wanted to ask. It seems to be the opposite at Tibra; it’s very open and you can ask whatever you like and make suggestions for improvements.
The flexible, open approach extends across all parts of the business – we don’t feel obliged to work from say, 8:00am to 12:00pm with a strict hour lunch break. You’re not restricted in that sense, so whenever you need a break you take a break and then just alter your working hours. My mentor made it clear that what’s important isn’t how much you stare at your computer screen but how efficiently you work. I get the feeling that this idea is really embedded in the mindset of the company – it’s more than just talk.
I’m really getting into the swing of things and beginning to feel that this is a good balance between work content and environment.
Day 25: My own project
We’re being treated like proper employees – I’ve been given projects which are challenging but real – it’s really relevant work. It feels like we’re doing things that we would full-time. You’re expected to deliver, but in your own way. I can imagine that might feel quite pressurised i.e. that ‘I need to do this perfectly’, but at the same time it also means you’ve got autonomy.
I’ve got into the habit of having lunch and then playing ping pong for a bit. I usually lose but when I go back to my desk, I work much more efficiently in the afternoon. I think the relaxation bit really helps.