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ABI Alumni Catriona Bowman Blogs about her Placement Year

Book open Reading time: 4 mins

We caught up with Catriona Bowman to talk about her internship at the ABI, the application process and what she enjoyed about working here.

What made you apply for the internship and what was the interview process like?

I applied to the placement because I thought it was one of the rare placements with a job description that really related to my Politics and International Relations degree.

The recruitment process at the ABI was my favourite by far because I really felt valued and thoroughly interviewed. The tasks that I was set, and the hour-long face-to-face interview, meant that I really felt I was given the opportunity to demonstrate my sills and personality. 

What made you choose the ABI as the place to work during your placement year?

I chose the ABI because the job description seemed the most interesting and appealing to me. I read a really positive blog from a previous placement student and also thought that going into Financial Services would be a very interesting change given that I study politics and international relations.

How would you describe the culture at the ABI?

The culture at the ABI can definitely be described as friendly. Everyone is very helpful and keen to get to know you which is appreciated as a new starter and someone that is new to office life.

What’s it like to work here?

Working at the ABI is great. I am always kept busy and engaged in my work, I love catching up with my colleagues and I really enjoy the office atmosphere.

What are the perks of the job?

There are many perks to this job, the biggest is the great experiences and opportunities that you are exposed to such as attending events at Parliament, but beyond that there is a really helpful season ticket loan, 24/7 access to a doctor, a BUPA health check and also help if you require glasses for your work.

What surprised you most about working in insurance/for the ABI?

I was mostly surprised by how broad insurance is and how much it relates to politics and the Government. At first I didn’t realise how much politics would be involved in my work and thus it was a great surprise to find out that the ABI frequently works with the Government and that my role involved lots of politics.

Describe your team in three words.

My team are sociable, hard-working, and collaborative.   

Tell us your favourite moment from your time here so far.

It is hard to choose just one favourite moment from my year at the ABI but I think working on election results day and then attending the Christmas party with my team has to be my favourite moment.

Election night is always exciting and coming in early to update our logs and send 650+ letters to all MPs was difficult but ending the day with cocktails and a group cheers will stick with me as I was really proud of my team and all of the work we had done.

What advice would you give to a placement student joining the ABI?

The advice I would give to new placement students joining the ABI would be don’t be afraid to introduce yourself. Making a tea or coffee in the hub is a great way to meet people outside of your team and everyone is so friendly that they will likely appreciate getting to know you.

I would also recommend making sure that you use every opportunity you can and learn as much as possible. The year really does fly by and it’s great to reflect at the end how much you have experienced and learnt.

How have you found working for the ABI in the midst of lockdown?

Working during lockdown has had its difficulties as it is hard not being able to approach different teams as you would in the office. Despite this, working from home has been absolutely fine in terms of me being able to do my job to the same standard and frequent team calls has meant the PA team has remained as collaborative as before. 

I do miss the office and seeing everyone but operationally the ABI has worked very well over lockdown and there is plenty of technical support available. Using zoom and teams has meant the ability to work with co-workers has remained and thus our work is as productive as in the office.

What skills have you gained from your time at the ABI?

I have gained many skills during my placement year but the skills that I have developed the most include increasing my confidence in my own ability, improving my time-management and multitasking skills and also growing my self-confidence as having a year of professional experience has made me feel prepared for final year and the process of applying for graduate roles.