Omar, Global Services Intern, talks about his experience at Finastra, and the effect of Covid on his Internship
I joined Finastra last year, and am now coming to the end of my internship with the Global Services Portfolio team. In my role, I assisted with the organization and creation of sales collateral, including presentations for the Global Services Sales team, and put together the right sales material for a wide range of people across Global Services.
When I joined Finastra I was so surprised at how many different roles and employees there were at the company. There is no comparison because I haven’t worked anywhere else, and the sheer scale of the operation is huge, and a little daunting at first!
I thought the industry was predominantly made up of start-ups only hiring graduates with computer science backgrounds, so it was fantastic to experience firsthand the huge range of roles and opportunities available at a mature industry Fintech. There was so much going on, and Finastra is a dynamic workplace – there is always opportunity to learn more. This was great for me because I’m so early on in my career, seeing what different roles and paths are available and where I could go is so exciting. I was also surprised at just how friendly everyone was – there was a large group of new joiners who were all of similar ages who were going through the same experience. It was a community feel where we weren’t alone, and had people around who were having the same experience, which made everything a lot more enjoyable.
It’s been a crazy journey with my Internship that I didn’t expect – Covid hit halfway through my 12 months here, and everything changed overnight. I wasn’t worried about the change to working, but was more curious about the new challenges it would bring. The people I worked closest with suddenly weren’t in my physically close vicinity – it was harder to contact and communicate, and a weird adjustment having a new working environment that wasn’t as social as I was used to.
My desk is in the corner of my room, and I found it strange sleeping in the same room as I worked. This new environment was a huge change from the friendly office I was so used to – I found that I had to be very proactive on Finastra’s social platforms like Yammer and Teams to stay in touch and remain positive and retain as much normality as possible, which is the best you can do in the situation. Catch ups with friends at office, and meetings with the team to stay in touch both helped a lot in avoiding the isolation that comes with lockdown.
It also changed my hobbies and habits greatly - I used to take part in weekly Finastra football games, which were great pre-Covid. Working from home I’ve had more time to myself and have recently gotten into mountain biking to keep myself fit, and to try something new. Surprisingly, I can do everything I could do in the office – I had never worked from home before in my role, and the limitations I assumed would be there were not. However, whilst you do have more time to yourself, the lines between working and home became blurred and it could be hard to separate – this is something I’ve gotten better at but is a skill I’m still perfecting.
When I move back into the workplace the year after next, I know a lot will have changed as a result of Covid. There will be far more remote opportunities – but I do not believe that offices will become obsolete. What made people so adaptable was because of the established relationships from the office – existing employees will work from home more because of the benefits. But new joiners and early career candidates will have an interesting journey – it will be hard because they will need lots of communication to make them feel included. Internships can still be successful learning opportunities from home – but people have to work harder than they would in the office.
As far as Finastra is concerned, I believe the company will continue to do well despite the challenges posed by Covid. FusionFabric.Cloud will make a huge difference by pushing forward and encouraging the adoption of new technology by banks to advance the industry: Covid has shown that adoption rates of many technologies have only increased. Working with customers on a much deeper level will become a bigger past of Finastra – there will be more time spent supporting, less time just selling, which will foster more collaborative relationships.
My plan now is to finish my final year at Exeter. I would like to pursue another role in Financial services or software upon graduating, as this experience has opened my eyes to a whole industry. It has also helped me to develop a stronger work ethic, and improved my self-discipline, on which I will continue to rely and build upon with my work at Finastra and my final year at university.