Originally I applied for a position in the finance graduate stream, I was offered a summer placement first and did not spend much time thinking about it. Still under exam pressure and after a short trip to Barcelona, which I highly recommend, I packed my bags and moved down to sunny Staines. You may think that I’m joking, sunny Staines, really? But to give you some background, I studied in Manchester or as the locals often call it: Rainchester.
The placement started with plenty of orientation information and a site tour, meeting my line manager, getting introduced to so many people that the only way to keep track was to write down their names and a pointer on how to remember them. Day one went well, I was introduced to a lot of people and started to get a general understanding of what I was about to do. I was quickly dipped into the business environment and after the first week I was expected to deliver, under some supervision and teaching of course. I have learned a lot about Risk Management and how it fits in with what British Gas does. I’ve spent time developing risk and control matrices, which identify new key controls, for direct reports to Senior Leadership Team members in British Gas New Energy. This was a great way to go out there, introduce myself to stakeholders and manage meetings with them. This provided me with a great opportunity to engage with the business and understand in a bit more detail how everyone was contributing to the team.
More importantly, I have met successful people, who proved to be considerate of my lack of experience, passionate about what they do and influential not only on the business arena but also in life and career advice. I have received great coaching from my line manager Mike Thompson, who will probably kill me if he sees his name here, but also my entire team Tahir Mahmood, Michelle du Cann, Karen Chapman. What made my summer placement even more enjoyable was the fact that I have met people in different parts of the business and have been influenced by their business experience as well. One will definitely be surprised by the amount of open, caring for each other and happy to help people in British Gas. The culture of the company is such that one can speak, e-mail, or even arrange a 1-2-1 meeting with people regardless of their position in the company. That truly fascinated me and would be a good take-away example for other companies to follow.
Last but not least, without my creative, passionate, outgoing and sporty summer placement colleagues, who have been carefully filtered through the assessment process, this experience wouldn’t have been as fun and enjoyable as it has been.