“I was given the liberty to become involved in work I found interesting and to take on far more responsibility than I think anyone (including myself) had expected.”

This article was originally published on the Centrica website.

Having spent my summer with Centrica, I am frequently asked two questions: “what was the internship like?” and “are you going to take the job?”.  To answer the latter first, yes. A resounding yes.

So “what was the internship like”? To be frank, I approached the internship with a little trepidation – the general image of accountancy just didn’t fill me with excitement. Maths, to me, is not inherently interesting. But finance is so much more than that. Yes, of course, numbers underpin the whole of business and at the end of the day it is balancing the books that the finance function is responsible for, but it’s all aboutinterpretation– and thatisinteresting.

Strategic decision-making, based on financing, lies at the heart of every project – and so the Finance boys and girls are involved. At every decision juncture there are compromises we must make and it is the ability to understand the costs and benefits – financial, social, and environmental – that makes a person good at finance. It is also what makes a good business leader in general. Put that alongside the high proportion of qualified accountants in high level general management positions worldwide and I’ll let you come to your own conclusions.

To talk about the placement in general I’m going to skip all the logistical material – “during my internship I did X and Y etc. etc.” – and jump straight into what matters. The internship is what you make it. You can be busy or bored, it’s your decision. I was given the liberty to become involved in work I found interesting and to take on far more responsibility than I think anyone (including myself) had expected.

The management attitude was to let me get as far as I could before needing direction, at which point the onus was on me to find that helping hand. I found the Buddy system at Centrica incredibly useful in this regard; to have a graduate always reliably there to share their expertise is an invaluable resource.

Following my internship I have been lucky enough to be shortlisted for the NUE awards “Best Intern” accolade. The freedom to take on responsibility at Centrica certainly paved the way for my nomination; the culture is innately one that allows a young professional to flourish. However, I would also like to thank everyone personally involved in my internship for making the effort to create that environment; they didn’t have to, but they did – and I am confident that you can find that attitude pervasive throughout the company.

In my brief 10 weeks there I found Centrica a company in which it is possible to ‘spread your wings’ and achieve as much as you will, a company in which you’re not ‘just another intern’ but one of the team, and a company which I am very much looking forward to joining in September 2014.

NCUB have already taken part in several dissemination events with HE bodies across the UK in order to share initial findings and receive feedback and contributions from those that have valuable experience in placement provision. This ongoing project continues to find evidence about the existing system of placements and what could be done to improve the impact of placements in future.

For more information about our Quality Placements initiative, click here.

Have you undertaken a placement recently? Share your experience with us. Comment below or tweet us @NCUBtweets.

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