Thinking Differently About the Route to a Long-Term Career
Colleagues – and sisters – Priya and Neha tell us about becoming Barclays apprentices.
Posted about 1 month ago
After having the privilege and pleasure to spend 9 weeks in the Private Bank this summer, I’m glad to report that I’ve enjoyed every day. From the start, you are given work that genuinely needs to be done, rather than work invented to give you something to do. Because of the varied work of the Private Bank, your day-to-day is a real mixture: slow-burning 9 week projects, urgent due-in-ten-minutes issues and everything in between.
After a week of team building, financial training, and meeting with senior leaders to understand what PBOS actually does, I finally sat down at my desk. I was quickly assigned a task to discuss and categorise the clients of 12 different Private Bankers, up to Managing Director level. As my IT wasn’t fully functioning, I couldn’t hide behind an email – daunting. However, there was no need for concern; everyone was incredibly friendly, even taking a few minutes to have a chat and introduce themselves.
If you want it, there is a lot of independence; for example, I’m largely left to manage my own schedule. Contrary to the popular opinion of banks, ‘facetime’ is not encouraged in PBOS. It’s all about efficient output, not hours at the desk. I generally arrive around 8.00 as I prefer to be in early, and finish between 5.00 and 6.00 depending on workload.
Tasks are incredibly varied, and you have to balance your workstreams efficiently to stay afloat; there is ample support available if you’re struggling to do so, however. I’ve done everything you’d expect and more: I’ve done a coffee run and cleaned up PowerPoints, but I’ve also pored through company reports to find new prospects and interviewed senior leaders from every division.
It’s a cliché, but the internship is what you make of it. You can interact with senior management – you just need to ask. If you build a reputation for delivering the more dense work in a timely, accurate fashion, the more complex, ‘interesting’ and tangible your output can become. For example, I was recently tasked by a Private Banker to come up with a multimillion pound proposal for a genuine client with the investments team. For one of my long term projects, I created a new joiner pack; a 32-page tome for which I engaged with a vast pool of Barclays employees for help. Guidance came from fellow interns, team leaders and even the office of Karen Frank, the CEO of PBOS.
Rather than just being nice to the intern on his first day, the welcoming atmosphere has persisted and pervades throughout the bank. This is what is so brilliant about Barclays culture; it’s extremely collaborative and ‘flat’. You are surrounded by senior leaders every day – the Head of PB UK sits 2 metres from my desk – and everyone is always on hand to help. A firm whose people actually reflect its Values statement is a rare gem to find indeed.