Karina Nazarova is a current Computer Science with Management student who completed her placement year at Morgan Stanley. This post will give you an overview of her onboarding experience. In addition, it will provide you with reasons why it is worth doing a placement year.
My journey with Morgan Stanley started during my first year studying Computer Science when my friends and I applied for different Spring Week programs. I didn’t know much about Spring Week; I hadn’t worked in a big company or completed any interviews before. Therefore, I viewed the whole interview process as an exciting new challenge to get to the next step. My enthusiasm for the process helped me stay calm and focused, especially when preparing for interviews. I certainly recommend a low-stress approach to the application process. Eventually, I was selected for the Spring Week programme. It was an excellent opportunity to get to know the company, its values and the people who work there. After the Spring Week, I was fast-tracked onto the summer internship (I had to do a couple more interviews), which was then converted into a year-long placement.
Tips for the interview process:
- Don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know the answer to a question.
You are an intern just starting your career journey, so it is okay if you don’t know something.
- Show your motivation to learn
There will be many new things to learn during a placement year. Show that you are willing to learn.
- 3. Write notes, draw diagrams/graphs
It helped me a lot when I visualised answers for some programming questions first, so I had a clear idea of approaching and implementing the solution later.
- 4. Share your thinking process in the problem-solving questions
This way, the interviewer will see how you approach the problems and see your logic. It will be easier for you to get to the solution once you start talking.
- 5. Listen to interviewers carefully/look at their body language
Sometimes these verbal/nonverbal signals could help you understand if you are on the right track. Interviewers want you to do well.
- 6. During behavioural interviews, go straight to the point
Follow the STAR technique to make your answer clearer
Why do a placement? What did I gain from this experience?
- Improved technical skills
Throughout the placement year, my technical skills improved tremendously. Projects I worked on involved a lot of coding. Moreover, the first project I worked on required knowledge of C#, a language that I had never used before. I learned it on the go during the first months of the placement.
- Gained confidence
Stemming from the point above – I gained a lot of practical coding experience and feel much more confident doing it now. (PS: I didn’t have any coding experience before starting my CS degree).
- Extracurricular activities
Morgan Stanley gave me an opportunity to participate in some extracurricular activities, which improved a variety of my soft skills and will enhance my CV:
– Volunteering for Charity that provides food for homeless people.
– Teaching GCSE students Computer Science at local school.
– Mapping: creating maps for rural locations in less developed countries to help people during natural disasters.
Thank you for reading my post this far. I hope you found some of these tips helpful, and I wish you lots of luck to secure your placement! It is definitely worth it!