Zhen Zhu, London Internship Program—Management Track
Intern in Finance at Barclays, Spring 2012
Internship: I worked at Barclays under their Wealth and Investment Management sector. I was part of the Operational Risk team and spent a majority of my time creating supporting documents such as the Principal Risk Assessment and Key Risk Assessment for the team.
I Learned: In America, people acknowledge diversity and different ideas, but in London, it is truly a melting pot. Though I am from New York City, it was more evident in London that not only do Londoners acknowledge other races and cultures but also they have grown to live with different types of ethnicities to a greater extent. There are people from all over Europe in London, and it was amazing how everyone meshed so well together. The other thing I learned was about the English lifestyle. I love their polite entrances, afternoon tea, and emphasis on holidays. It was quite a breath of fresh air and a new type of pace that you cannot find in large metropolitan cities like New York.
Comparing/Contrasting to Other Work Experiences: The main difference that I saw was that the business at Barclays was much more relaxed. People took more time to finish projects and definitely took more vacations. While Americans are very hasty in the way they do work, rushing to finish all the work at once, Londoners definitely do take a step back to find more of a balance between life and work. Additionally, London businesses are more diverse. I quite enjoy workplaces that are not dominated by white males all the time.
Challenges: The most difficult part of my experience was my homesickness. I didn’t know anyone prior to the program so I constantly missed my best friends and family. During a vacation early in the semester to Germany, I remember wishing that they were the ones I was enjoying my time with. However, after a few weeks, I made some really close friends and am very glad that I was able to share my abroad experience with them.
Best Part: This is a very difficult question because I had so many great experiences. I met a lot of great people, and some of them I know will be lifetime friends. I had an awesome experience at Barclays because I had such a genuine and caring supervisor and the funniest team. I also loved traveling around Europe on the weekends and sightseeing. It was so cheap and convenient to go anywhere especially to places I have been reading about in my history textbooks.