14 October 2014
So it’s that time of year again where we return to a life which revolves around deadlines and copious amounts of reading… Welcome back, by the way!
I thought I would dedicate my blog post to the most amazing and eye-opening summer so far, which involved my amazing holiday seeing my family and my internship at Worldpay – a global payments acquirer.
After working so much over the past couple of years – at an American firm and managing staff at a chain of restaurants, among other things – it meant I couldn’t really go home to Serbia. (I was born in Suffolk, but I still call it home as all my family are there.) That was pretty hard. Mainly because your roots are what make you…you. Once you get used to being apart from so long, as horrible as it sounds, you get used to a different way of living and I guess you kind of forget where you’re from – not to mention your roots, values and who you generally work hard for.
Relaxing in the middle of nowhere on a farm with masses of land around me really did the world of good and I was finally able to reflect on what was probably one of the most difficult years of my life. Not purely because of university; also family stuff and the crazy decisions I had to make regarding studying, where I was going to live and work, etc. I can now see, after an amazing year, that I definitely made the right decision to study my chosen course at Anglia Ruskin. If it wasn’t for my decision, I most definitely would not have done so well in my modules, gained so much exposure in and outside of university, or started a potential career at an amazing global organisation – thanks to the LAIBS [Lord Ashcroft International Business School] student experience and placement team.
During my trip abroad to see my family, I was contacted by a member of Worldpay’s recruitment team about my application. Little did I know, having no confidence in my application whatsoever, I had passed the initial sift of the application process and was selected to go through to the assessment centre. Unfortunately for me the assessment was scheduled to be on a day when I was still abroad, and all my hopes suddenly vanished. There was no way I could make it. After exchanging several emails I was invited to lunch with the Vice President of the department I had applied to work at, and at that lunch I was informed I had been selected to take part in the internship. I could not believe it!
During the course of the internship, I had met several highly influential people and stakeholders in the organisation and had the chance to dine and socialise with them (including the CEO of eCommerce of Worldpay!) a few times in the most exquisite of places, overlooking iconic buildings in London. We took part in talks with strategy teams, directors and key stakeholders that aimed to give us a thorough introduction to the payments industry and the organisation itself. This was incredibly beneficial for us in order to gain a context into the work we will be carrying out and what to consider in our projects going forward.
I had the amazing opportunity of taking ownership of testing and accrediting a popular Japanese payment method. I had to interact with colleagues in Worldpay’s Japan office, as well as in the Cambridge office, to facilitate this testing. I produced valuable materials on my own, as well as with my Associate team (made up of me and two other amazingly nice associates – Jeremy, a 3rd year studying Business Economics at Anglia Ruskin, and George – who’s studying a Masters of Research at UEA). These materials would set the precedent for future testing and accreditation projects, which made us feel incredibly valued and like our stay within the organisation had a genuine purpose. A very uplifting and motivating feeling.
We used an agile methodology approach of managing our individual accreditation projects and used a project management tool on the intranet to aid us. This enabled us to effectively track and monitor the progress of our projects independently, as well as jointly with our Associate team and stakeholders. Each section of our projects were broken down into two-week sprints; we collated tasks into these sprints for each project. We would then present them to our key stakeholders in the London office in Cannon Street (LOVED it there so much).
As you can see, we had a lot of responsibility and such amazing and invaluable exposure – which In turn equipped us with the experience and knowledge to lead our individual projects and take ownership of them. Our mentors and everyone we had contact with in the organisation really looked after us, more than I could have ever expected going into a business as an intern. We even received recognition from the executive team, in front of hundreds of staff, at a conference in London. We were overwhelmed – and I still am, looking back. I never thought I would be able to present in a boardroom to influential people, nor do half the tasks that I was able to do independently and as part of a group. This organisation did not just equip me with the skills and knowledge to be able to access the role I wish to pursue following university, but much, much more, and I am incredibly grateful for that.
In terms of applying to such schemes, my only tip would be just be yourself. It’s so easy to do the stereotypical sales pitch you’ve read on some random site you’ve googled. The real challenge is let your worries go and be you. You have to remember, no matter how high up these individuals are who you’re meeting, networking with or pitching to, they are still people and they want to see who you are, your values and what really separates you from everyone else. If you and all the other candidates for a job turned up with that same pitch from that same site, how are they going to differentiate you? Have a think about it…
To complete my blog entry, I had the amazing offer from Worldpay to continue working as a business analyst part-time, alongside studying. Of course, I said yes!