Behind the scenes at Atom bank: an intern’s insider look

15 August 2017

Inside Atom

Amanda Ashley
Amanda Ashley

Behind the scenes at Atom bank: an intern’s insider look

I’m Amanda, a Marketing intern at Atom bank for Boston University. Read my diary to discover what life is like behind the scenes at a bank that’s totally in an app

Day 1

Feeling: Nervous (it’s my first day!)


I knew Atom bank was not like other banks, but when I arrived this morning. I immediately got a sense of just how different it is.

My journey to Atom was nothing like I expected. I hopped on at Newcastle train station and enjoyed a scenic train ride to Durham, before setting off on a twenty-minute walk winding through plush fields of wildflowers. I definitely did not feel like I was going to a traditional bank.

The surprises continued when I walked inside the office and saw that everyone sits together at big tables, with lots of departments in each room – I can even see the CEO’s desk from where I sit.

As I settled into my first day’s work, I was surprised how really approachable and friendly everyone was. At first I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get any work done in such a chatty, lively environment, but it makes the work even more enjoyable.

As I was leaving the office after my first day, some people asked why I would come all the way from the U.S. for this internship. The reason is simple – I knew Atom bank was unique and I hoped this internship would be challenging and fun with loads of new valuable experiences – and I was right!

Day 2

Feeling: Excited about all the new stuff

Life behind the camera

When I’ve seen people with fancy, elaborate cameras taking pictures or videos at events, I’ve always wanted to be one of them snapping away. Well, today I got to try it – photography and videography was on today’s to-do list. Mingxia (the other Marketing intern) and I clicked away on the camera taking behind-the-scenes pictures for BQ magazine. The feature will be on from September, so take a peek! I also tried out videography 0 it was even better than I expected.

I also realised how quickly I’d adapted to being here. I hardly even noticed the various British accents around me anymore (except when people use British slang words I don’t understand, like “chuffed” and “slap-up meal”). At my summer job last year it took me a while to settle in, even though it was a small friendly company. Here at Atom, I felt completely settled in by day two, which is good as I’m only here for five weeks.

Number of people I met from other departments: 4 Lows: It rained on the walk from the train station, which was really muddy *Highs: Gettinng the responsibility to film and photograph a real interview

Day 5

*Feeling: Ready for an adventure

The winding streets of Durham - Atom's home city

In case you did not know, Atom is located in Durham, a small city I had never heard of before I came here. Since I had been busy working the whole week, I came back today, Saturday, to explore. I was surprised to discover how great a place it is.

To me, Durham is the quintessential English city, with winding cobblestone streets, leaning buildings, and stunning architecture. Unfortunately, the castle was closed for the day, but I was able to explore the cathedral, with its enormous ceilings and beautiful stained glass windows. The city was full of character and now I can’t wait to explore Durham more during the next four weeks.

  • Number of amazing buildings I saw: Too many to count
  • Lows: The castle was closed
  • Highs: Getting to see where part of the Harry Potter films were filmed

Day 10

*Feeling: Accomplished, but tired

Cool things come in small packages

One of the great things about being an intern is that you get to be involved in loads of different projects. Today’s was helping to assemble packages that would be shipped out to customers – about 1.500 of them.

Mingxia and I worked all day on this project, and met new people from different departments (finance, design, and innovation) who stopped by while we were working.

As with most big projects, we had a few hiccups along the way and had to adapt, but the process was fun and another valuable new experience. I really appreciated being part of something that would reach Atom customers directly. They don’t know me, but I feel like I’m getting to know them better every day. It was great to help with such a big undertaking.

*Number of boxes we carried: 11 Lows: Having to re-do about 200 labels Highs: Relocated to the CEO’s office for the day