HOST: The Revd Canon Dr Gregory Platten (Worcester, 1997), Lichfield Cathedral
We were so delighted to be able to participate in this programme. We were even more delighted when we were granted funding from the scheme, Matilda, who was our intern, really expedited our work. It was a very good experience.
INTERN: Matilda Houston-Brown (Lincoln, 2019)
In the day to day, I worked with the library manager on days she worked, and when she didn’t the Vergers would give me the library key for the day. I would unlock the library and go up the spiral staircase. The library is a beautiful medieval room above the chapter house with vaulted ceilings so made an amazing working environment, I miss it already!
The cathedral gave me a laptop during the duration of my internship which I used extensively. The WiFi was amazing! Both Gregory the Canon Chancellor and Clare the Library Manager were wonderful people to work with and were always on hand if I had any concerns. My work was extremely absorbing and the trust given to me was wonderful. I handled early printed books, amazing early manuscripts, and got to say my piece in committee meetings. I also gained the opportunity to take over Instagram for a day to help promote the library further.
My 6 weeks at Lichfield were amazing. The experience I gained was incredibly insightful and exciting. Moving from a period of time where the majority of my experience with manuscripts and early printed texts was virtual, my time at Lichfield completely transformed my CV and allowed me to apply my knowledge. It will vastly improve my master’s applications and any future research career.
Gregory and Clare were an amazing support and I really felt welcomed by everyone. I was even invited to the staff social and given extra (virtual) work on the manuscripts. I have also been invited back to talk to the patrons about my work, and I’m also going to speak on the Cathedral Treasure of the Week podcast which is really thrilling and exciting.
HOST: Dr Esther Schmidt (New College, 1994), Centre for Historic Houses of India
I have worked with many different students from well-known universities including MIT for example. However, my favourite students are students from Oxford. Having participated in 2 micro internships and one summer internship programme I find that students from Oxford are particularly enthusiastic and keen to learn new things and intellectually curious. Apart from doing well, finishing assignments in a timely manner and showing initiative and an entrepreneurial spirit, they have a great sense of ethics, excellence, collegiality and friendship.
Working with students from Oxford reminds me of my time at Oxford - there is a sense of idealism and trying to make the world a better place that I have never seen outside of Oxford. Instead of pragmatic career interests they all look for purpose and meaning trying to align their personal interests and talents with the aims of the our institution and the overall benefits to communities. The intern has been absolutely fantastic of a high intellectual calibre with great social skills. I hope that the internship also offered her new perspectives and career options that she may have been unaware of before. Thank you very much for supporting our organisation in this internship.
INTERN: Mehvish (Regent's Park, 2020)
I worked remotely on this internship, so the schedule was a little more comfortable - I think I was able to achieve more than I would have, especially in terms of organising the event, than possible if the internship were to happen in person. But then again, if it had happened in person, the nature of the internship and the underlying tasks would have differed.
I would generally start early, at about 9 AM to ensure that I was prepared with my task list for the day and complete any pending tasks. I would take breaks every hour or so, since it was a desk job, and eat proper meals at proper intervals. I also made some great friends, so even when things became difficult, I had solid support from both my supervisor Dr. Schmidt as well as the team.
My supervisor and the Director for the Centre, Professor Esther is one of the best and most hardworking academics I have had the opportunity to work with - she is meticulous, dedicated and leads by example. I have learned so much from her, simply by observing how she handles time, resources, people and opportunities. Her direct go-getter attitude is something that I have tried to emulate, and hope to be able to have the same approach to my work as I move forward in my career.
I also really enjoyed the entire space - a luxury consumer segment with its own idiosyncracies and network. I was able to fit right in, and Professor Esther was always extremely encouraging and supportive. She was a very strong support system, and I was really impressed with her leadership style.
HOST: Sara Berkai (Kellogg, 2020), Ambessa Play
INTERN: Peter Baker (Christ Church, 2020)
My day would start by collecting yesterday's last 3D print from my 3D printer. 3D printing has a very slow production process so my days were largely based around timing prints to finish at convenient times. Immediately after collecting yesterday’s print, I would likely set another design printing and then go upstairs for my daily check in with Sara, Ambessa Play's founder. After filling her in on the last twenty-four hours of progress I'd then go and test the print from overnight and make changes to the design. Depending on the complexity and success of the print this could take me till early afternoon at which time the second print of the day would have likely finished. This cycle was repeated several times a day depending on how long/ intricate the prints were.
The experience has been fantastic: I have been paid to design and tinker little models, something I would otherwise be doing for fun! It has also been a great first insight into start-up culture and its fast pace.
HOST: Miguel San Joaquin (Wolfson, 2002), POLO Women Powered Stories
INTERN: Susmita Dave (St Benet's Hall, 2019)
My internship was held remotely but it was still very enjoyable. My intern partner and I usually called for a few hours in the morning to discuss marketing and set plans for the afternoon. Getting dressed and making a cup of tea for calls helped to create a comfortable environment and routine. We would then work on our projects in the afternoons and show it to each other a few days later. For more important aspects like the leaflet, we would work on it together over a teams call.
The online internship was very flexible which meant I could also spend time with my family and working on other university projects on the side. We would touch base with the CEO every few weeks to make sure we were on the right track and get a better idea on what to prioritise going forward. I also had a few calls with the other intern to just chat about university and summer so we could get to know each other better, especially as it was only the two of us working on this. I took breaks throughout the day to make sure I was not spending too long staring at screens and to stretch my body.
Overall, I really enjoyed the internship. I made a really good friend from it (my intern partner) and I learnt a lot of soft skills. I gained some great design and marketing skills as well as some business acumen. There were some aspects of film editing that I found hard but I am inspired to work on this further. It has made me realise that I would really like to work for an NGO in the future as I feel the work is really exceptional and fulfilling.
It was particularly interesting to see the model used in POLO that worked by suppling filmmaking services to bigger NGOs at a low cost. That money is then used to film other smaller NGOs for free. It has also been particularly empowering to read about and work closely with inspiring women and I hope the work I do in the future could be equally uplifting. Th experience has definitely given me more confidence and understanding about the working world outside of the Oxford university bubble as well as something to add to my CV.
HOST: Warwick McDonald (Christ Church, 1997), Partners Group
Extremely well-run, great quality of candidates and very helpful staff at the Careers Service, who made it as easy as possible for the employer, recognising their time limitations. This is a very valuable and worthwhile programme.
INTERN: Sam Carter (New College, 2019)
After commuting into the City, my typical day started around 8:30am, when I would catch up on emails and usually talk to my "coach" about projects or tasks I could get involved with that day. The in-person nature of the experience and desk set up meant I was sat across from my coach every day, which allowed me to settle in and learn rapidly. I typically had two to four meetings or training sessions per day, which were always productive and/or highly informative, and the remainder of my day would tend to be self-directed; this didn't mean working alone however, as I would often be collaborating with one or two others on a project, requiring frequent, informal liaison in these periods.
Between periods of work, I spoke to lots of the firm's employees over coffee (in-person or virtually), from many offices around the world and from a variety of teams beyond the Structuring team. I most often ate lunch with my coach and other team members who were in the office, and joined drinks, lunches and a dinner with people from my own and a neighbouring team, which were always really enjoyable.
I loved my internship! the level of responsibility was higher than I had anticipated (in turn allowing me to develop quicker than expected), the work was consistently meaningful, and the people were always supportive, helpful and kind. I gained a far more detailed understanding of fund structuring, was able to complete tasks representative of many legal roles, and gained a huge amount of insight into the profession and related fields from my colleagues.
The experience confirmed my career ambitions, but significantly broadened my perspective by allowing me to appreciate the range of opportunities available within the legal and financial sectors.