Monday, 15 July 2013

HSBC Work Placement 1/7/13 - 12/7/13

In the first two weeks of July I took part in the HSBC Work Experience Programme. 

I previously did a blog post on how I got onto the programme so if you haven't read it already here is the link:
Initially, my work placement was only meant to last one week but I managed to get it extended to two which was actually very beneficial.

On my first day I didn't do much but that was expected as I needed to settle in. I spent the majority of my time at the back office of the branch where the senior clerks sit. I will not lie there was a lot of filing to do but I guess that it's part of the job and that is part of the role of the senior clerks when dealing with paperwork.
I was also given a work experience booklet which included the history of HSBC and some information to help me learn more about the bank. 

I was also assigned a small project to interview one of the employees about their role etc. I have not completed that yet because the branch was quite busy during the two weeks I was there, but I will go back just to complete that as it is a part of the programme.

Over the two weeks I had set responsibilities given to me to do at the beginning and end of the day. I liked that because it meant that when I arrived in the morning I wouldn't have to wait on someone to tell me what to do, I could just go in and do my tasks. Every morning there would be a little meeting where the managers discuss the targets for the staff, how well they are doing as a bank and any praise they received from customers. On Tuesdays there would be a longer meeting of 45 minutes. This is where new campaigns would be discussed and any issues would be raised.

In terms of the tasks I did, I got to shadow the cashiers to see how they deal with customers. Initially, I didn't think that working as a cashier was as complicated as it seems. When I did my work experience at Barclays Bank I was able to work as a cashier and serve customers but I guess a lot has changed within 3 years in terms of rules and regulations. A lot of checks are put in place to ensure security and to prevent fraud. I also shadowed the councilors. These are the people who see customers when, for example, they want to open an account. By doing this I did learn a lot about the procedure and realised it isn't even that straightforward to do something as easy as opening a bank account. Additionally, I spoke to one of the business specialists who works as part of the business banking section of the bank which deals with people who want to start up their own businesses and provides lending to those businesses. During the first week I went mystery shopping to another bank. I had to assess the bank I visited against certain criteria and give feedback back to the bank. I received good customer service from the bank I visited but perhaps I could have been more questioning in order to test their customer service skills more.

I think my favourite parts of the work placement was creating a staff quiz and helping out as a meet and greet. One of my tasks was to create a quiz for the staff on the history of HSBC and the products they offer. We did the quiz during the Tuesday meeting where the staff were split into two teams and my work experience buddy and I read out the questions for them to answer. It was so funny seeing the competitive side come out of the staff and it was honestly so much fun. Another thing I did was work with the meet and greet team who stand at the entrance of the branch helping customers with any inquiries and booking appointments. I really enjoyed helping customers when they needed help. Obviously, I wasn't knowledgeable enough to advise them but if they needed help with the express banking facilities ( paying in with cash and cheque, filling in pay-in slips, checking statements etc.) I was readily available.

During the work placement I realised that having a part-time job where I deal with customers and communicate constantly really helped my confidence. In the past I was really shy when talking to people I didn't know but my confidence has really improved. I really liked talking to the staff as well as they were so incredibly kind and really tried their best to help me enjoy my experience even though they were so busy.

Overall, I really enjoyed the placement. I really did choose the right branch to work for and if I do get the opportunity I would love to go back. I really admire the relationships between the staff. Everyone is extremely friendly and willing to help each other and I think that is a great attribute to have in a team of people.

On the last day I was presented with this certificate for completing the programme.

It was a great experience and it made me realise that I'm willing to find out more, not only about HSBC but what banking offers. I really do suggest if you are interested in going into banking and between the ages 14-18 this is a great opportunity to enhance your CV and learn more about the industry. This is more aimed towards retail banking but still has its benefits either way. Keep a look out on the directions website: and the HSBC work experience website: . They also offer an apprenticeship programme for those who are not interested in continuing with education at the age of 16 onwards .

During my placement I also decided to apply to attend the HSBC insight day. I had previously come across this event but I didn't think anything of it because I thought there was no point of applying when I had already got a place of the work experience programme. I eventually changed my mind a couple of days before the deadline and applied by sending my CV and a cover letter to a designated email address. Fortunately, a couple of days after the deadline I received an email confirming my place on the insight day. It takes place at Canary Wharf on Wednesday 24th July 2013 and I will be doing a blog post about the event. I'm glad I applied because I get to learn about Global Banking & Markets which is a completely different aspect to retail banking. There will also be interactive presentations and networking sessions.

Look out for the next blog post in a weeks time!!

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