Matthew Helingoe – Technology Summer Intern
Working for a transatlantic bank at the forefront of FinTech with plenty of possibility for learning and progression made for an opportunity I am glad I took.
Posted 10 months ago
Ever since I started university, most of my friends were pretty sure that they wanted to go into investment banking and, they did. And there I was, with so many ideas and options, sure about one thing: I am open to find out where life takes me. After months of exploring the opportunities available, I sent in my application for the Barclaycard International Summer Internship, an area that has reputation for innovation, technology and development. One of the best decisions I have ever made.
With only very little time left of my internship and 8 weeks of constant learning behind me, I don’t even know how to describe this period I have spent within the Small Business team in Barclaycard Commercial Payments. Barclaycard International is a unique business within the big bank. I remember how I entered our level in the building and a new world has opened up: people were friendly, open, dressed down, but most importantly, it was this whole separate welcoming space. That moment was when I realised that applying for this department was a great decision. I was lucky enough to be given a project that I have been working on the whole summer and will have to present to Senior Stakeholders soon. I believe that this describes the trust and integrity people act with towards all of their coworkers here, valuable contributions are always welcome and a fresh pair of eyes is much appreciated as well.
Of course, as all new things, this summer was full of challenges. My team is dispersed throughout the UK, with my line manager working in Northampton (the Barclaycard HQ) and others located in Stockton. For this reason, our weekly team catch-ups became a particularly important part of my schedule. Simply because of this situation, I had to learn how to work independently for most of the time and utilise other people’s knowledge and experience by asking them when I needed help. This was probably the area where I have developed the most: at university most of your friends are always available but here, people might easily have a schedule so full that they can’t fit in a quick catch-up before the next week and you’ll have to figure things out on your own.
People were keen to give me unbiased career support and advice instead of only focusing on how to pressure me into a job. All the meetings that I have had this summer supported me in exploring what options I’d have if I joined Barclays full-time, how to find the characteristics in a position that will fit my personality best and to understand how the teams in Barclaycard collaborate. I had the chance to shadow the UX team, to work closely with the Risk team and I’ve gained understanding in areas ranging from Brand Strategy to Technology.
But besides the everyday work at my desk, my calendar was always full of events organised by the Recruitment team or “introductory chats”, which are mainly about trying to understand in 30 minutes what a whole team works on and how that person got to where they are. Let’s not underestimate the name remembering skill here because explaining what meeting you’ve just attended and sending thank you emails is not an easy one without knowing who you’ve just had the conversation with. Trust me, I’ve been there…
A highlight of my summer (besides the free coffee on our floor) was that every Friday morning we had a chance to meet Senior Leaders with a small group of other interns. I was impressed by the openness of these people who have decades of experience from all around the world and they still dedicate time to support career starters.
All in all, I couldn’t have wished for a better summer internship in a bank. So for those of you out there, who are not sure of what you want to do yet, don’t be afraid and apply to Barclays! I am sure you’ll find what you’ve been looking for.