Blogs – My Undergrad experience

Shannon Balram secures herself an internship with First Names Group

Seven months ago, I was sitting on my sofa with my housemates discussing what we were all going to do over summer. I’m now sitting at my desk at First Names Group in Jersey! From meetings to lunches to phone calls, my first three weeks have been jam-packed and I have thoroughly loved it so far.

I admit, when I first applied to Undergraduate of the Year, my main goal was to make it to the awards lunch in Canary Wharf and meet my childhood icon, Konnie Huq, who was hosting the Awards. Even though I didn’t really know anything about First Names Group or what a trust was at this point, I knew I had to apply.

The first stage started with an online application, three 500-word questions and psychometric tests. The next stage was a video interview. I had to answer five questions with a time limit of a minute each. I don’t think I finished any of my answers and had genuinely thought everything had gone horribly wrong. To my surprise, I soon received an invitation to an assessment centre! As the firm is based in Jersey, this was held in London. It was great to meet so many people from the business and the light-hearted nature of the firm along with those we met made it feel like we weren’t being interviewed at all.

After a few gruelling days, the wait was over and I opened that all-important email – I had made it into the final ten! On top of that, the firm were taking us out for a lush breakfast at the Sky Gardens before the awards ceremony. The whole day was immensely enjoyable, the food exquisite and the company even better. Although I didn’t win, I learned a great deal about myself throughout the process and I would definitely encourage anyone to apply.

A few days after the awards, I was offered an internship. Now, while most people would jump at the chance, accepting it took a few days as it meant being a whole plane ride away from home for the summer. Now I’m here in Jersey, I’m glad I did! As a marketing intern, I feel like the work I’m doing is being valued and will impact the business, especially my project about classic cars. It’s a great place to be working. First Names Group has a presence in 14 different jurisdictions and being in the centre of that means I’m dealing with a variety of different people, projects and departments.

The first few weeks here have felt like a holiday – I wonder if other interns get to go paddle boarding… My team is great (bar the Love Island chat), ‘Dress Down Fridays’ are great and, as First Names would imply, everybody knows your name. The best thing about the culture is that there is no hierarchy – it wasn’t until my first week that I realised I’d been sitting among directors, managing directors, the COO and the CEO at the Awards!

The opportunities that I’ve stumbled upon throughout this journey are ones that I didn’t even think were possible. Overall, there is no downside to applying to this award – maybe just that there’s no happy hour in Jersey (it’s illegal apparently)?