What was your working day like?
At the ONS (Office for National Statistics) there was no typical day. In my 1 week at the office I attended meetings every day, including a research analysis conference and a high profile meeting in London. We had professors coming in and specialists from other offices which was remarkable, with over 1500 economists and statisticians working in the building; yet, I observed a great deal of collaboration and partnership between the divisions, more than in any other organisation I have worked in.
What sort of support did you receive during your work experience?
I received a great deal of understanding and support from everyone I met. In all my interactions, staff went out of their way to explain what was going on to me, especially at meetings where sometimes I could be clueless as to what was going on. Some meetings were following up on the previous month’s meetings, while others were in the latter stages of development and I was given a crash course in the months and months of work that some projects take. Helen (my mentor) was great, she made sure to take me to all her meetings and introduced me to so many people that I became a familiar face.
What have been the best bits?
The variety and complexity of the work you are involved in. I enjoyed the meetings I attended the level of intelligence of the discussions and appreciated the work that had gone into it.
What skills do you feel you have gained from the work experience?
Most especially, I feel I have gained better networking skills as I networked with everyone from chief economist and high level statisticians to directors, staff and placement students. I even had a nice conversation with a board member of the IPO (Intellectual Property Office) in my cab one morning where I chipped in using my understanding of intellectual property from a module I had taken last semester. I also improved my Microsoft Excel skills.
Have the opportunities and experience offered by the work placement had an impact on aspects of your life beyond work, for example increasing your self-confidence or social skills?
The experience, although brief, has taught me to keep an open mind and have a positive mind-set. It has also taught me to be proactive and seek anything I need.
Has this work experience shaped or changed your views on future graduate employment, if at all?
Going on this week of work has not really changed my views on future graduate employment. It has however made me more comfortable in an office environment and less anxious about taking a full time job. I would like to work in the ONS to take a graduate job but I am still open to pursuing a master’s degree.
We are always looking for mentors and mentees to join the scheme. Interested?
Find out more by contacting the School of Management Employability Team