Ella Doyle, Communications Intern, spoke to her fellow interns about their work, the culture at Starling and their advice for future interns. Our summer internship programme included seven interns, who were all based in our London office.
Starling’s internship programme has attracted people from many different backgrounds. Denise Oji is an actor with a keen interest in UX (user experience) design, which she focused on at Starling, while Angus Grelak came from the world of music (he runs his own record label, ChillhopGuru). Most interns are going into their final year of university.
Working as an intern at Starling
“One of my focuses has been on ways to improve Settle Up, the feature Starling customers can use to request money they’re owed,” says Denise, Product Design Intern. “I’ve looked at accessibility, which is always on my mind as a designer. My mum is partially deaf (without her hearing aid, 99%) so I always try to think about how others would interact with a design and specifically those with a disability.”
Niyati Amin, Oscar Leon and Angus worked as part of our Risk team. Matt Lewis and Dev Deepak were part of Vendor Management, the team that oversees companies supplying Starling, from a risk, cost and service perspective.
“One of my projects has been centred on ESG (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance) within Starling,” says Dev. “ESG is like the heartbeat of a responsible business. It’s all about looking beyond profits and assessing how a company treats the planet (Environmental), the people within and around it (Social) and its approach to integrity and ethics (Governance).”
Our internship programme
Starling’s summer internship programme lasted eight weeks. It began with an introduction to Starling’s core values and compliance training, something that everyone working in a regulated financial organisation needs to do. Interns then worked on personal projects within their various teams. The programme was wrapped up with a final presentation from each intern showcasing the projects they completed.
A culture of ownership and trust
“The culture at Starling is really accommodating, with no hierarchical structure - you get treated like a colleague, not an intern,” says Niyati, Risk Assurance Intern.
Oscar Leon, Financial Risk Intern, added: “I’m most surprised by how much my input has mattered to Starling.” He attributed this to “the amount of exposure and independence we have been given - I think being trusted is what really nourishes your learning at the beginning of your professional career.”
Matt echoed this: “At Starling you get a lot of autonomy over the work you do and new ideas are always listened to.”
Advice on how to apply
“My advice when applying to internships would be to research the company and understand why you want to work for them,” says Denise. “For example, I loved Starling’s virtual card feature and how this showed that Starling takes care of their customers.” Starling’s virtual cards allow customers to spend from set budgets, which they can keep separate from their main balance through the Spaces feature.
Angus, Data Privacy Intern, added: “At Starling, you get interviewed by radiant people which helps you relax and be more personable in your interviews, which I think is really important.”
Matt’s advice is to “make the interview feel like an engaging conversation for both you and the interviewer - this is something that my line manager says she really looks for when hiring.”
My advice, if you secure a place on the internship, is to be confident stepping outside your comfort zone and to always seek feedback. There’s so much to learn about the FinTech industry and Starling is a great place to get started.