Ever since I spent a year in New York on the Mountbatten Program, I’ve been inundated with questions from others who would also love to do the program and wanting to find out more about the program.
I often receive queries from young people like you reading this right now, that really want to apply to the program but have a few questions or uncertainties that they want to find out from someone that has actually been on the program before.
In this post I want to put your worries at ease and to give you every reason that you should apply for the Mountbatten Program because it will probably be one of the best years of your life and hello… who doesn’t want to be able to call themselves a New Yorker?!
Here is every reason you should do the Mountbatten Program:
1. You get to live in New York
I mean, this one’s pretty obvious. Just imagine being able to say the words ‘I live in New York’.
When I was on the program, our apartments were based in New Jersey which gave a lucky few the entire Manhattan skyline view from their bedroom window. For the rest of us, we had the pleasure of looking at it from our living room windows.
Pre-pandemic when we were all commuting to the office, the Newport apartments were only a 7 minute train journey into the Financial District, which made my mornings very relaxed.
Take a second and just imagine it. You wake up every morning and go to work in New York. You wake up on the weekend and go for brunch in New York. You go for a few after work drinks, in New York. Because guess what? You live in New York.
2. You’ll get amazing work experience
The Mountbatten Program partners with some of the biggest companies in the world, and this is one of the main reasons so many choose to partake in the program.
Many of the placement positions are within the finance industry and as an example, Mountbatten are able to place a lot of trainees with companies like Citibank and HSBC, two companies that look incredible on a CV, especially if you are able to say you worked in their NYC headquarters.
Mountbatten vet all companies to make sure each trainee is going to gain valuable work experience and be able to excel in the position they are placed in.
Other than multinational corporations, Mountbatten do also partner with smaller companies like the digital agency Decoded and the drinks company Fever Tree. More examples of their placement opportunities can be found on their website.
3. Gain academic qualifications
Subject to availability, Mountbatten also offer the opportunity to gain an academic qualification alongside your year as a trainee in New York.
During the year I was there, many people undertook a Masters degree in business and entrepreneurship which involved some weekday evening classes and some Saturday morning classes.
At the moment, the London program is the only one that can offer an academic qualification. However, this may change when the world returns to semi-normal.
4. You’ll meet so many new people
You could say the Mountbatten Program is almost like going back to university, especially in the first few weeks.
When you arrive, you are met with 80+ other young professionals all eager to experience living in New York and wanting to see and do just about everything the city has to offer.
Plus, you’ll be living in a flat of five people and in the same buildings as other trainees, so you will never be on your own or stuck for someone to talk to.
The majority of trainees leave the program with friends for life and also end up living together again when they go back to the UK after becoming so close in America.
5. You’ll make incredible memories
There’s nothing like Christmas in New York and there are so many other small moments in New York that I will always remember.
For example, 4th of July watching the fireworks from 230 5th rooftop bar, going to the Christmas carol service in St. Peter’s Cathedral, my first American football game, a weekend in Nashville, thanksgiving in the Hamptons and spending Christmas Day with other trainees in the city.
Along with these, there are also the small things like going to grab coffee in the West Village on a Saturday morning or grabbing lunch around FiDi during work and feeling baffled that you live and work in New York.
There are so many incredible memories to be made during your year in New York that you’ll never want to forget.
6. Step outside your comfort zone
Getting on a plane by yourself can sometimes feel like a huge feat, but getting on a plane to New York City by yourself and not really knowing what to expect when you land is something completely different.
I remember traveling to New York from Dublin Airport on a Saturday morning and things were a little easier for me as I cleared immigration before boarding my flight in Dublin. Which meant when I landed in Newark, I was able to go straight to the apartments.
However, when I landed my phone data wouldn’t work and I needed to order an Uber, plus needed some directions and the address of where I was going. I was stood in Newark Airport along with two suitcases and no internet. Thank God for wifi!
I’ll always remember that moving weekend as me putting myself extremely out of my comfort zone, trying to navigate New Jersey with no internet and no working wifi in the apartment (someone had changed the password) and trying to work out what a comforter was once I had located Target.
They always say that the best things happen outside of your comfort zone and they really do. My entire year in New York was constantly putting myself out of my comfort zone, and it was the best thing I’ve ever done. Because if I can move to New York by myself, I can do just about anything.
7. The opportunity to travel
One of the best things about spending a year in New York is the ability to be able to travel all around America.
Americans aren’t the most generous when it comes to annual leave, with the average being 10 days, but if you work it around long weekends/bank holidays then you can definitely squeeze in some trips here and there.
Even with six months of my year in New York being taken over by COVID-19, I still managed to visit Boston, Washington D.C, Philadelphia, Nashville, Niagara Falls, Princeton, the Hamptons and upstate New York.
Inland flights are quite cheap and if there’s a large group of you, this can really reduce the cost of AirBnB stays. It’s definitely worthwhile to make the most of being based in New York as you can travel just about anywhere in New York with many people traveling to places like Miami, New Orleans, Texas, Puerto Rico and others.
8. The opportunity to experience new cultures
New York is extremely different to London. In London, you can spend a day in Notting Hill or Shoreditch or Brixton and even though those three places are very different, you still kind of know what you’re going to get in each area.
Whereas in New York City, if you were to spend a day in Flushing, Queens or Washington Heights, Manhattan, or Bushwick, Brooklyn, you’re going to think you’ve entered three different countries, never mind just neighbourhoods.
This is one of the best things about New York as you have every cuisine you can ever think of, so many different areas offering so many different things and you can enjoy the experience of all of them within one day.
Even though New York has a very hard-working culture, it also has a friendly and almost different-world feel to it. You will feel like you’re constantly living in a movie set, but it’s an incredibly friendly although very fast-paced city.
9. Experience being a New Yorker
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being asked for directions for the first time. That ‘do I look like I live here’ feeling of pride when someone thinks you know the way to a niche place in the city.
It may take a while, but you’ll soon come to know the ins and outs of the Subway system, you’ll know where does the best dollar pizza slice, the best happy hours and if you’re like me, the best brunch spots.
You’ll soon be one of those people getting annoyed at the tourists walking too slow, or stopping to take pictures every five steps but you’ll also appreciate looking up at the skyscrapers and walking around New York as a local that lives there.
You’ll experience what it means to be ‘New York tough’ as New York is a city that has proven so many times that it can overcome the worst of the worst, and New Yorkers are very proud of that status.
10. Experience living in America
There are so many new things to adapt to when you move to the US. Firstly, you’ll have dollars in your pocket instead of sterling, and you’ll learn about the healthcare system and having to do your own taxes.
You’ll learn very quickly about tipping in America – make sure you do! And if you take a trip to the south, you’ll see that the people in different parts of America are very different. Everything’s just better in the south – add Nashville to your travel list!
You’ll experience driving on the right side of the road if you go on a road-trip, and if you’re into your sports, you’ll realize that Americans take their sport very seriously.
And hopefully when you’re there the world will be somewhat normal so you can join in with celebrating as New Yorkers and Americans love to do. From July 4th to the annual Thanksgiving parade, St. Patrick’s Day or Halloween – there’s always a party happening in New York!
11. You’ll have a stellar CV
Having ‘worked in New York’ on your CV is going to be a huge talking point. Plus, the Mountbatten Program is such a well-known and established brand that it’s going to look great on your CV and to have a reference from them too.
You’ll be adding international experience, dealing with new cultures, adapting to new situations and so much more to your CV as you’ll be working hard and learning so much at the same time.
Plus, what a place to network!
As well as adding incredible work experience to your CV, living in New York will let future employers know that you have some great life experience too. There aren’t many people that up and move to NYC for a year, and you’ll definitely have many stories and learnings to take away from doing something like the Mountbatten Program.
I hope this post has helped settle any doubts or hesitations about applying to the program. As always if you still have any further questions that I haven’t covered, you can email me at [email protected] or DM me on Instagram @orlaghclaire