Can you tell us a little bit about your placement, Ben?
I worked in Group Technology as a java developer. I was part of an Agile Scrum team that maintained and expanded several processes, including the clearing and settlement of deals. I also worked on developing fixes to existing applications used by the Investment Bank.
How much responsibility were you given during your placement year?
As I honed my development skills, I was gradually given more and more responsibility. Every day we would have a ten minute stand-up meeting where tasks were given out to each member of our team. As time went on and I grew in confidence, I was given more tasks to complete.
Even though I was often given a lot of responsibility, I never felt that I was out of my depth. My team were always around to give me support.
What did you enjoy the most about your role?
Working in a development team with three experienced developers was the best thing about my role. I learnt a lot from observing them and was able to ask a lot of questions as they were working.
I was even able to put my new Java skills to good use in the final year of my Computer Science degree!
What was your biggest challenge?
I was working on many different components and often on codebases with tens of thousands of lines of code. This was initially very daunting as I’d never worked on anything that big before. Also, there were lots of Java syntaxes and libraries which I hadn’t seen before, so I had to take some time to familiarize myself with the code.
As the placement progressed, I became a lot more confident and these tasks didn't seem so intimidating anymore.
Did the year meet your expectations?
My year exceeded all expectations. I was fully integrated into my development team and I really felt that I was contributing to the business.
What was the company culture like?
Investment banks are often given a bad reputation in the media and often sound like harsh places to work. My experience was the total opposite of this. I felt very welcome from the outset. The fact that I was part of a small development team of five people meant that I got to know my team very well.
UBS also gives you the opportunity to spend two days a year volunteering. I used one of these days coaching local school kids in a variety of sports. On these volunteering days, I got to mix with colleagues from other parts of the business too.
What advice would you give to students applying for the role?
If you’re planning to apply for an industrial placement here, I’d make sure that you have a real interest in the work that you will be doing. It’s important that you enjoy your job so that you put the most in and get the most out of the experience.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions. There will be a lot of things you don’t know, and the people here are more than happy to answer your questions and take time to give you advice.