Getting the Most Value Out of a Virtual Internship at HSBC During COVID-19

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Meet a few of our 2020 HSBC Commercial Banking interns – the first to navigate and complete the program in an entirely virtual environment.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

With Aisha, Evan, Orly and Nicholas

At HSBC we’re continuously looking for new ways to improve our clients’ experiences and are always welcoming fresh perspectives. Through our 8-week program, our college summer interns work within a diverse team to explore their professional interests, gain confidence in their abilities and take a hands-on approach to learn how our business works.

Meet Aisha, Evan, Orly and Nicholas – four interns who’ve completed our 2020 summer internship program. We met with them to chat about their expectations coming into the program and what their experience was like. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and mandatory work-from-home orders, things were quite different this year. They approached their summer with an open mind and an anything is possible – no matter the (virtual!) circumstances – attitude. Here’s what they had to say…

What sparked your interest in the HSBC internship program?

Aisha: I met Tara at an on-campus event at my university, Fordham. Tara spoke about how much she loves HSBC for our company values, sense of community, and international focus. As I interviewed with her, I was excited to learn about the present global opportunities at the bank.

Evan: As someone who has always loved traveling and has valued the importance of learning from and interacting with other cultures, my interest in HSBC was sparked by the opportunity to work in a truly global and connected bank.

Orly: I decided to apply to the HSBC internship program because of the bank’s international footprint. I’ve always wanted to gain greater international exposure, learning from other cultures, and HSBC offers exactly this. Multiple times a week I’m on Zoom with colleagues and/or clients in different countries, and I love it!

Nicholas: I have always been passionate about banking but was unsure of where to start. I found out about the HSBC internship program at a UCLA career fair. After learning about HSBC’s international strength and CMB’s client facing role, I knew this was the perfect internship program for me to begin my career in the banking world.

Have your expectations before coming into the program been met?

Aisha: My expectations have been exceeded. My team welcomed me with open arms and provided a rich learning experience, giving me a strong foundation in the fundamentals of relationship and credit management. I’ve not only expanded my network, but I’ve created solid friendships with individuals on my team and in my intern class that I hope will last for years to come.

Evan: My expectations were vastly exceeded at HSBC. The connections and friendships I was able to make with my fellow interns from around the country, the ability learn from HSBC leaders both in the US and abroad and working with welcoming and dynamic teams made for an immensely impactful summer.

Orly: One thousand percent! Despite the program being virtual, I have had the opportunity to meet so many different people throughout the bank, each one offering something different to the team. I was also incredibly lucky to be placed with the Denver corporate banking team, where I gained 8 amazing mentors, who I know I will stay in touch with no matter where my future takes me.

Nicholas: My expectations have been exceeded here at HSBC. This internship was truly a life changing experience for me. It has definitely made me excited to pursue a future career with the organization.

What will you take away from your internship experience at HSBC?

Aisha: I’m taking away a wealth of knowledge on commercial banking, practical experience from my work with the Retail & Apparel Team, and the agility to work from home efficiently.

Evan: There are so many lessons I will take with me from my internship experience, but if I had to choose one, I would have to say it was the value of networking.

From day one, every member of HSBC I had the opportunity to interact with made themselves available to me as a resource, whether it be for advice on a project, to have a virtual coffee chat, or to give advice on my life and career as I leave college. The interactions I was able to have taught me lessons I will always carry with me.

Orly: Not only will I take away my improved technical skills, including Excel, financial statement analysis, and credit analysis, but I will also take with me my newfound confidence. I’m leaving this HSBC internship feeling comfortable advocating for myself, being proactive, asking questions, seeking feedback, and with excitement for my future.

Nicholas: The list of things I will take away is endless. The training we received was excellent, there I was able to learn many crucial skills ranging from financial modeling all the way to trade and receivables. By working with my team I was able to gain essential hands-on experience in the commercial banking world. The connections I made with my fellow interns, team, and around the entire bank are also priceless.

Do you like WFH/virtually? Although quite a different experience than you expected, do you feel that you have still had the same amount of opportunities to learn/network while WFH?

Aisha: Yes, I liked WFH. It was a surprisingly fluid transition, and I found myself taking advantage of the digital nature of the program in order to speak with different individuals across the bank that I ordinarily may not have met. I was still able to form meaningful relationships with my team and fellow interns, even though it was through a screen.

Evan: Coming in to the summer, I was skeptical about the experience of entering a new industry virtually. But as time went on, I found that through working virtually, I had so much more access to people that I would have never encountered in the office.

Orly: Working from home has been better than expected. For one, there is less pressure to wear a blazer every day. However, the greatest benefit of WFH has been the fact that I have been able to network with so many people, regardless of where they are located. I’ve had the opportunity to speak with people in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Boston, Israel, Malaysia, Spain, Hong Kong, and more!

Nicholas: Although I would have loved to get the experience of working in an office, I enjoy working from home. As I progressed through the program I quickly learned that working virtually presented even more opportunities to network than in the office. This is due to the ease of networking with almost anyone in the bank, with one easy email I would find myself meeting for a coffee chat with individuals from different business segments to entirely different countries!

Has your vision for your future changes based on the COVID-19 pandemic and the “new normal?”

Aisha: Yes. I now think more outside of the box. Since I can work from home and take classes online, I can be a student and an employee wherever I go. I plan to take advantage of this mobility and explore the East Coast states!

Evan: This experiencer this has changed my perception of the post-COVID “normal,” it showed me that a world in which more and more of us work remotely is not one which lacks the ability to connect and network with the people you work with.

Orly: Because of COVID-19, I have been forced to be more flexible with my future. I’m not sure where I will be living or if I will even be working in an actual office versus at home post-graduation. However, despite this uncertainty, I have learned over the past 6 weeks that no matter what happens, I can handle it and I will be ok. It’s a scary time, but I just have to make the best of it and remind myself how lucky I am. If anything this pandemic has put things into perspective for me and for that I am grateful.

Nicholas: Definitely, I truly believe that the COVID-19 pandemic will leave a permanent effect on the world which will affect my future career and goals. The HSBC summer internship has truly given me a good look at what this future will look like. I can now confidently say I’m prepared to work in the “new normal”.

At HSBC we recognize that cultivating strong talent now will lead to an effective organization with diverse perspectives in the future. Whether you’re studying art or architecture, business studies or social studies there is a place for you on our Commercial Banking Internship Program. See how your skills can adapt to different areas of our business while developing new skills to help kick-start your career in the Commercial Bank. Click here to learn more.

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