Steven – from a summer placement to a graduate job offer


Q. Hi Steven – can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m studying the BSc Business Information Systems degree in the School of Computing at Edinburgh Napier University. I’m actually a mature student – I started studying Chemistry at another university but I didn’t like the course and left. I then worked with SKY for a while, first in customer services and then eventually I was able to get involved in some interesting cross-team project work, which I really enjoyed. I decided that if I wanted to get a permanent graduate position doing that kind of work I’d need to get a relevant degree, and that’s what led me to the BSc Business Information Systems.

Q. Where were you on summer placement?

I’ve just finished a ten-week placement with RBS.

This is the second placement I’ve done during the Business Information Systems degree. The first was a year-long placement between second and third year – I was able to gain course credit for that one, as well as having a great experience and getting paid! The summer placement at RBS between third and fourth year gave me even more experience  – and was also very well paid!

Q. How did you find your summer placement?

We’ve got a placement office on-campus, and Maureen Ronaldson sends emails out to students about summer placement opportunities and can usually answer any questions or give advice before applying. So, the first I heard about the RBS placement was through an email from Maureen. I had already decided to look for a summer placement so it was a case of the right message coming through at the right time.

There was an online application form, and then I had a telephone interview. Finally, I was asked to go along to an assessment centre (which was quite interesting) and then I got the job.

Q. Tell us about the role

My placement was on RBS’ Business Technology programme, and my position was Operational Analyst in the Technology Solutions Centre. This centre controls the main technical infrastructure for the bank, the mainframes and distributed servers that support all of the banking operations. It was my job to help monitor these systems.

The role was actually very varied. There was day-to-day monitoring of how the systems are being used in the business – who is accessing the systems, when, and how data files that are of high importance to the bank are being used. I also helped analyse and present data, taking raw numbers and turning them into infographics to explain how our systems are performing. I had to write a process document to help manage a process change, and that meant doing a lot of internal networking to get information from all the people who would be involved in the change, that was a good experience. And because I’m interested in security, I was able to get involved in some of that side of things.

Q. How will the experience help you once you’ve graduated?

Immensely – at the end of the summer placement I was offered a place on the RBS graduate scheme, without having to go through any further interviews or assessment centres!

RBS, like a lot of other big employers, are able to use the summer placement as an ‘extended audition’, and on the last day all of the interns find out whether they are being offered a position after they graduate. Many do – and I’m very pleased to say that I am one of them. I had a great time at RBS during the summer and I’m really looking forward to joining the graduate scheme once I finish my degree.

Q. How do you feel about the future?

Very optimistic and excited. Before summer, I had been a bit anxious about my final year at university, knowing that I’d have a lot of work to complete for my degree while also feeling the pressure to apply for graduate jobs – which can take a lot of time and effort. Now that I’ve secured my graduate job, I feel that I can concentrate on my studies without feeling anxious about what’s coming next.

Q. Sum up your placement in three words!

Best. Decision. Ever.