1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I really find my placement helpful for my future professional life. Indeed the environment of JDE gave me new challenges. I discovered the brand management and trade marketing in a professional structure (not retail), which was also new to me. As a French student, the challenge was also to learn in a foreign language, and I think that was a success. Everybody was very comprehensive with me and enables me to improve my English. Also, as the company was quite a new merger, it was for me very interesting to understand the stakes of a merger and what are the different aspect to take into account when it comes to brands.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I was so happy to work with the Professional marketing team. I know they were all very busy but when I suggested my support for different projects, they were always kind to give me some work and to include me in some interesting and exciting projects, which is crucial as an intern. I also had the opportunity to work closely with the sales team, which was a real pleasure and more knowledge too. The problematics are not exactly the same, but the final goal remains the same for every associate in JDE: providing a coffee for every cup!
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
As my direct manager has been sometime absent, I had the support from my upper manager and also from all the marketing team. I think my role was not defined precisely enough and then with some restructuration of the team, I was more like a general help for all the team and not only for the "Brand marketing manager". And on the one hand it was very challenging because I had to go and ask for new projects and involve myself more. On the other hand, without experience, I cannot make some of decisions I would have like to make but with more guidance.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
It varied during the 6 months. Basically with my direct manager we had a lot of projects which were very exciting and challenging. We also worked closely with the retail team so it added some meetings. Even if my days were busy, I think I could have be in more projects when I take some step back of my experience. I could manage my time quite well which is also helpful.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I will answer in the middle for this question. I am glad that I had some responsibilities to organize events for instance and working on documents for the central. On the other side, there were some meetings/discussions I couldn't really be involved (I think mainly because of my non experience and I guess because of the privacy). Also, I felt at the end of my placement that it was more complicated to involve me in projects knowing that I was leaving soon. So in general I had some responsibilities for not impactful tasks. The positive aspect was also that I could give my opinion, and I thank the company to offer me this opportunity because saying what I think can make a lot of difference for a professional experience like this one.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
First of all, as I said, my English speaking has improved and I will use it all my life, especially taking into account the fact that I want to work abroad. Being autonomous is always important, but not only in the working life, and that helps me today as I am part of an exchange semester in the US. The cultural aspect is something very noticeable at JDE. I really enjoyed meeting and working with people from different countries, that makes a company richer in terms of human resources.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
I found the atmosphere very nice. I was not afraid to go to work for instance of to talk to anybody. It was easy to go to some colleagues' desk to ask a question or if they had time to explain something or to plan a meeting. I enjoyed this open space with also the general managers in the same office. I felt right because people accepted me as a colleague and not as an intern.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
As I already mentioned, I think the general description of my internship should have been clearer but it is also because of the special circonstances. I also recommend for the future interns to have some checking meetings during the internship even if it is only a 6 months placement. We are young people with no -or almost- experience so we need to be guided in order to know if we do well, or we are wrong in some behaviors or technics or anything.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
That was amazing to be treated like every other new associate even if I was there only 6 months! I had training about coffee culture and also practice. I was able to assist some external meetings which is great for a student and which makes me realize what are the real stakes within a big company.
I could feel that since JDE was born, the interns were still new so there are some improvements to be done but I am happy to say that people in the company care about us and make their best to help our development.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I will be honest, JDE is a great company because of different aspects.
- The quality coffee: I would definitely rather work for a company I trust and from which I love the product.
- The international opportunities
- The growing coffee (& beverages) market: innovations possibilities
- Retail perspectives
- The corporate culture fits with my expectations.
I would not hesitate to apply for a job at JDE Coffee.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Still the advantage of the open space: it is very easy to meet people. Other advantage: the coffee! People were really friendly and were interested in my past and future experiences. The social was really good, but always remained very polite and respectful. We were not many students in Hurley compared to Banbury.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Maidenhead is quite far from London to leave there as an intern. I was closer to London than work but train was ok to travel (even if very expensive: 12 pounds a day that is huge). So basically it was a lot of my budget. And it is no surprising that the closer you live from London, the more expensive life is. It was also a choice because I didn't want to live in Maidenhead for 6 months because of the attraction of London.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
I never stayed in Maidenhead at night, except for my leaving do.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There were a few events organized indeed. But always without a car it is more complicated to get part of it.