Welcome to the inside of my head.

Posts tagged ‘project’

106. My Internship

I’ve just finished my third week at Towers Watson as an intern (working in Retirement). This means I’ve actually reached half way! The time has seriously flown by, probably because I’ve been kept so busy.

aliya

Enjoying the sunshine

Settling Down

There are 8 of us altogether in the Westminster office in Retirement. One is me, the other is Shakira and one of the dudes actually went to my secondary school (though he was in the year below me). So that’s 2 more people than most people usually know at the start of their internship. On top of that it’s 6 girls and 2 boys which is pretty unusual but all of this combined has just made it easier for me to settle down.

The Work

There’s no point me detailing the kind of stuff I do because it won’t make much sense. All I can say is that to work in this area, you need to learn so many new words and acronyms that it might as well be a Rosetta Stone course. Also because of government rule changes over the years, doing simple tasks becomes hella annoying because you have to look at each time period separately, there’s Pre 88, Post 88, Pre 97, Post 97, and the occasional Post 06.  Why you make this so hard?!

Initially I was a bit annoyed about doing things I didn’t actually understand. For example I use a very clever spreadsheet called Caps and Floors which works out the right interest rate for stuff. Essentially all I do is input a few values and it spits out a number. I have no idea how it’s doing this and from the viewpoint of a mathematician, I find it wholly unsatisfying but I have grudgingly come to accept that I don’t have time to work through the Black Scholes equation. Additionally I had very little financial knowledge coming into this. I didn’t know how gilts work (I do now..sort of) or stuff about bond yields which was a hindrance.

I haven’t done much Maths besides basic arithmetic (I miss it) but the numerical judgement I’ve picked up during my degree (eg. does this figure look right?) has been invaluable. It means I’m efficient when sifting through documents trying to find the right information and also when reviewing calculations on Excel.

I have a buddy who’s supposed to make sure I always have work to do but he’s a bit slow and this week he’s gone on holiday. Basically I’ve been pestering the people around me and they’ve been happy (a little too happy on occasion) to oblige. In contrast, Shakira’s buddy Timone gives her annoying technical tasks with incomplete instructions but he’s very nice so we forgive him.

IT Skills

I thought I was decent using Microsoft Office. I’m not. I have learnt so many little tricks in my time here.  Many of them are specific to the the TW Toolbar but just small things like the ‘track changes’ features in Word and ‘record transitions’ feature in Powerpoint has been… life changing. However, the biggest shock was Microsoft Outlook. I had NO IDEA how powerful it was. I’d never given it much attention before but seriously it puts Hotmail and even Gmail to shame. Its capacity to book meetings, check out other people’s schedules and track tasks has been invaluable. I will never dismiss it again.

Socials

Towers Watson is a very friendly place. The office is open plan so you literally can walk up to anyone and just say hi. As the new interns, everyone was really eager to meet us and find out our capacity to do some work for them 😛 There is always some kind of social event on the horizon whether it’s Friday drinks, a lunch or a boat party like we had this week. The inconvenient thing about them is that they all involve drinking. It’s like they can’t do anything if there is no alcohol. Every time I tell someone that I don’t drink, they give me a confused look. I guess I didn’t realise how important a pint was in British culture. I do now. And my god, it’s not just one pint they have, it is several. Where is all this liquid going? How are they constantly not peeing?! It’s a mystery to me.

However I’ve still been going to as many of the socials as I can. A highlight was the boat party. Great fun! I’m sure it was supposed to be used as an opportunity for (more) networking but there was a roulette table and I pretty much spent the whole evening there (no real money was involved before someone starts shouting at me for gambling during Ramadan- talking of Ramadan… Ramadan Mubarak!).

roulette

I’m feeling lucky….

Intern Project

Alongside all the work we do in the office, we also have an intern project. I’m in a group of 8 across three different offices and we have to co-ordinate making new videos for graduate recruitment. Other groups are making games to help prospective applicants decide what line of business they should go for and another is setting up TW’s Facebook and Twitter page. The project has been really fun so far and I really like my group, particularly a dude called Robert who is our project leader and also happens to have beautiful chiselled cheekbones 😛 Now originally we thought that we’d be interviewing people in the office… turns out we’re starring in them. That’s right we’re going to be immortalised on the TW website, saying cringey things like ‘open the door to your career at Towers Watson!’ *fistpump*.

reigate

This is where we’re going to be filming… the Reigate office (not my usual Westminster one)

Dress Code

I’m going to be honest- half the reason I was excited about this internship was because I’d get to dress up in nice formal wear. However that gets old real quick. First of all dresses and skirts are really annoying when you’re climbing stairs. Mine don’t have huge slits so my pace length is restricted and unless I hike the hem up, I definitely can’t run for my train. Trousers for the win! Furthermore, if I’m not wearing trousers I wear opaque tights and in this weather it is DISGUSTING. I can feel my legs continuously getting sweaty and drying. Actually gross. Oh and shoes! Both my flats and my heels hurt my feet if I wear them for too long. University has spoiled me- the only shoes that don’t hurt are trainers.

Thankfully we have dress down Fridays where I can chillax and wear my jeans and converses to work. Hoorah!

Okay this is getting really long now. I’ll leave it at that- don’t want to bore all of you!

Over and Out!

95. Mission Accomplished

The last few days have been super stressful but I’m really pleased to announce that I’m finally done with third year! HELLO SUMMER!

I handed in my projects (yup plural) yesterday and I also gave my oral presentation. Considering how little time I had to prepare for it, I think it went decently. I rehearsed as much as I could in the few hours beforehand, so much so that I think I strained my voice. The time limit was 15 mins so I wanted to be talking for at least 12 minutes but when rehearsing, I couldn’t get it over 10 mins 20 secs. Miraculously I made it last over 13 minutes for the real thing. I swear it doesn’t matter how much public speaking you’ve done, it doesn’t get much easier. I always feel like I’ve got my foot in my mouth and can’t get the words out.

I took a few pics because our projects looked soo beautiful when binded. I almost didn’t want to hand it in!

specialprojectbinded

Such Beauty

Shakira didn’t even want to let them go!

Can you feel the loovee tonight?

Can you feel the loovee tonight?

I was just in a state of delirium that it was all finished.

I don't even...

I don’t even…

Over and Out!

94. Student on a mission!

I only have a few hours to completely prepare my oral presentation for tomorrow afternoon. It’s only worth a quarter of my entire module. No biggie.

Oh who am I kidding?! I am freaking out. And before some quips in that I should have started earlier, I tried but my stupid project took a ridiculous amount of time to format and edit and print.

But hey, I can do this. I can present. I’m speaking about something I know well. I’m passionate about it. I just need to try not to swear. And not to speak too fast. And not to make inappropriate jokes. And not diss the teachers too much. And not complain about the children.

Dammit if only this oral presentation was a rant- I would ace it.

Argh I have worked my arse off all week- there’s only one day to go and one final hurdle.

This will be the best presentation eva.

LET’S GET THIS SHIT DONE.

Over and Out!

92. Life After Exams

I realise I’ve been quiet for a while. I’d like to say it was because I’ve been partying like a mofo but the boring truth is that I’ve been stuck writing up a project. I thought your exams were finished I hear you say?! Well they are, but this is some left over stuff I have to do as consolation for doing one less exam than my peers.

This project is basically about how mathematics is taught at the secondary school I visited every week last term. It was (mostly) fun visiting the school and working with the kids but writing about it is hella boring. I feel like I’m doing sooo much bullshitting and for someone who likes to be concise, I find this painful. I find myself saying things like ‘oh the teacher put up the learning objectives right at the beginning of the lesson so the pupils knew what to expect’. Please someone gimme a gold medal for this invaluable insight.

We’re also supposed to sing our praises and I always find this uncomfortable even when I’m proud of what I’ve done. I feel like I either go two ways; totally understating my achievements or sounding really cocky. So I’ll either end up writing ‘I think the students quite enjoyed the lesson’ or ‘Hell Yeah I was born to teach. These kids are gonna remember this lesson for the rest of their lives yo’. I need to find a happy medium.

On the plus side, the weather has been totally gorgeous. I’m currently sitting outside in the garden lying on the grass, basking in the rays and trying to avoid a tan (because I’m brown).

Oh yeah, I’m also in the process of trying to find a supervisor for my fourth year project. I’m currently trying to decide between three lecturers. This is a really important decision for me because my supervisor will be the one to write my reference and they’ll also be guiding me through my project which is a worth a substantial proportion of my final year. It’s also heavily influential in determining degree classes if you’re borderline, which I am. I’m currently on the wrong side between a 2:1 and a First. Sad times.

Additionally I’m trying to decide whether it’ll be a good idea to do a project on group theory which is very ‘pure’ but the mathematics is beautiful. It’ll probably be the last time I get to really appreciate the intricacies within proofs…or I could do a project more statistics related which would be more relevant considering my career aspirations (and it’ll pimp my CV). Same old story. Follow the heart or the brain? My gut is siding with brain right now.

In other news:

  • Today I hit 15 million on Neopets. Awww Yeah. I see y’all looking at me enviously wishing you had my virtual money.
  • I watched the latest episode of Game of Thrones yesterday and I had to sit there for five minutes rocking backwards and forwards with my head in my hands to deal with the trauma from the Red Wedding. I am still devastated.
  • I was crushed against some random guy’s butt for the duration of my journey on the Bakerloo line today. Unwanted contact. Highly unpleasant experience.

Over and Out!