Diary of a back office intern: I'm now hungry for the front office

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One week left. My project is basically finished and next Thursday is the final assessment before the awkward wait for the outcome. The FO interns will be told there and then whether they’ve got the job after their final stock pitch. I probably prefer it that way. Playing the waiting game is unpleasant to say the least… never parting with your mobile except perhaps to shower and quickly diving into your pocket every time it buzzes. And then of course most people who have done a good few assessment centres know that Friday afternoons are the worst (around 4.45pm)… something about how it’s less awkward to be rejected just before the weekend?

Despite this, I am excited for the final interview. As a (secretly) very shy person I surprise myself in feeling this – when did this, the most dreaded of activities, become something that I get excited about? I HATED interviews at first, but over my three years at university, I they’ve just got easier…practice makes perfect. I started to recognise patterns and it gets to a point where the adrenaline no longer becomes something to be afraid of, you realise that it actually allows your brain to work in a way that it couldn’t normally, and you surprise yourself with some of the answers you’re able to come up with.

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It’s the intern ‘night out’ after the interviews, where we’ll try and have a good time with the same recruiters who interviewed us a few hours before. As awkward as that sounds, I will be sad to say goodbye to the intern pool. Even though we might not naturally be particularly close mates in a casual context, it’s been quite exciting spending time with a group of such intelligent and driven young people. There’s a lot I’m going to miss about being an intern, not least the (very generous) income, but also odd little things. Maybe it’s just that I’m new to wearing a suit every day, but people act differently towards you. I’ve been treated with more respect in tiny ways, from someone making way on the pavement to getting slightly better service in shops and restaurants.

As it stands right now, the majority of BO and MO interns are trying to pick their moment to go for a FO opportunity. This is an HR nightmare, no doubt. I don’t really doubt that anyone was lacking conviction when, all those months ago, they passionately described at interview how the role they were in was all they ever wanted, but it’s hard not to feel like a second tier employee at this level if you’re not FO. They’re always in the gorgeous old City office, the salary is higher and the career paths seem much faster paced. It’ll be interesting to see which (if any) strategies worked for the notoriously tough move to the FO; I’ll let you know in my next and final article – till then, good luck to my fellow interns with their final assessments, I hope all the hard work pays off!

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