Thea is a final year student in Accounting and Finance, who completed a placement year with Sony in 2020/21. If you are interested in completing a placement between Stage 2 and Stage 3, you can find out more in the Business School UG Stage 2 Community 2021-22 on Canvas, or contact the NUBS Student Experience team.
During my placement year at Sony, I worked in the Financial Planning and Analytics team. Although my cohort of placement students had to deal with undertaking an internship amid a pandemic, I was lucky enough to still be able to go into the office every day for most of the year. In doing this, I gained a very real perception of the working world and got to meet lots of people (in person!) who I will definitely be keeping in contact with going forward. Here is an example of a typical, office-based day in my role.
My placement was based in the Sony office in Basingstoke. I live in London and took the decision not to relocate as I wasn’t sure what the COVID situation would be throughout the year. I therefore had about an hour and a half commute. I would wake up at about 6:45 so as to give myself lots of time to wake up, get ready and have breakfast before I set off at 7:15. If I was feeling particularly go-getting I’d wake up even earlier and workout before I left for work. This didn’t happen often…
I very much enjoyed my drives to work; it was a good chunk of time that I had completely to myself to get my mind in order before work and belt out embarrassing songs without fear of judgement, which by the way, I highly recommend as a form of self-care.
Arrival at the office
I’d get to the office around 8:45 and I’d usually see one of the other interns in the car park, so we’d walk in together and stop by the canteen to get a coffee from one of the coffee machines. Sometimes I’d buy breakfast from the canteen – they did the best bacon sandwiches and a delicious full English! As the food is subsidised at the office – it was super cheap which made it all the more tempting. I’d then make my way upstairs to my desk and I’d say hi to all the people I saw on the way there. As coming into the office was optional under Sony’s COVID policy, the office was quiet and most of the time it was pretty much only the interns that were in. I loved having these social interactions first thing in the morning, especially as I’d gotten used to being in lockdown!
Once at my desk it was time to start work. Due to the nature of my job, my tasks and responsibilities varied depending on what point of the month we were in. I had daily, weekly, and monthly tasks to complete as well as ad hoc work for various projects we were working on. More often than not, I started my day by refreshing the daily sales report and sending it out to the business. As the name suggests, this was a daily report that presented where sales of sections of the business stood against their budget figure set at the beginning of the financial year and their forecasted figure set at the beginning of the month. Refreshing this report was pretty simple as it used a great software system called Power BI; I was fortunate enough to be sent on a Power BI training course by my manager which is a really great asset on my CV. Once the data was made presentable in an email, I’d send it off to about 200 key people in the business. I’d then get on with other tasks that needed to be done before the end of the day or ones that had an approaching deadline. This included more internal reporting; actuals report, forecast report, order intake report, KPI report; tracking and flagging any SGA spend so far in the month that would go straight to the P&L or balance sheet.
I would usually take a little break every hour or so, even if it was just a walk to the kitchenette to fill my water bottle. This would help me to stay focused. Sometimes another intern would come to my desk if they were also taking a break and we’d go get a drink together or have a quick chat.
I was able to take my hour lunch break any time between 12 and 2pm. Unless I had a meeting, I’d usually take my lunch at 12 with the other interns. The food at the Sony office was so good. There were always two hot options, a meat and a vegetarian option, and loads of salad, sandwiches and snack options. Sometimes I’d bring my own food in and store it in one of the fridges, but often I wasn’t organised enough to remember so I’d buy my food from the canteen. We had a group of about 10 interns in the office and we’d sit altogether across a few tables in the canteen area or go outside on the picnic benches if it was good weather. We’d always have a laugh, and the hour would fly by.
After lunch it was back to work. My job wasn’t very meeting-heavy but when I did have meetings, they were usually in the afternoon and always on Microsoft Teams (due to COVID restrictions). Meetings were to discuss forecasting, project status updates or people from my team asking for support for some tasks. I also would have two weekly team meetings, one that was more work-based and one more of a casual catch up to keep team morale high – we’d play games via teams or catch up on life outside of work. I’d carry on with executing my tasks and I’d finish working no later than 5:30.
The social aspect
My cohort of Sony interns were all pretty close and we were all quite a sociable bunch so often after work we’d go for a drink or for a meal or to someone’s flat who lived nearby. On Fridays we had a night out (when COVID allowed it) and we’d arrange to stay at each other’s houses. I was super lucky to have this experience and the highlight of my year was definitely making such amazing friendships with the group.
Working a 9-5 seemed a slightly scary prospect before I started but I came to learn that the people make the job and the day would often fly by, as did the whole year!