On the Lancôme Commercial Team, assisting the Account Managers with day to day tasks. Managing my own smaller accounts, and assisting on projects such as launches and events.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
It took a long time to settle in, and to really understand my role. The high stress and last minute environment makes it a difficult adjustment. Once you have got used to this environment - you can really start to enjoy what it is that you're doing within your role.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Colleagues expect a lot of you here, however what comes with that is that they treat you like you're one of them. In my placement I felt truly valued, and I was treated like a full time member of staff. I was given real responsibilities, and in some cases my roles didn't differ from that of the full time employees.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I had a great manager- we had weekly catch ups in which she would help me with anything, give me advice, and let me ask any questions I had. I also had a start of placement review in which I set out what I wanted to gain from the placement. This was followed up by mid year and end of year reviews in which my progress was discussed.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
It very much depended day to day. Some days when I had nothing to do, I was bored and trying to find things to keep me occupied. However, on other days I was very busy and staying til late. However overall I do think it was a good balance- it is only normal in a role to have busy and quiet days.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
At the beginning of the placement I was given fairly little responsibility. However once I began to show that I was good at my role, and was keen to have more responsibility, I was given more of it. By the end of my placement I was managing accounts and self managing high profile launches.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I have developed key social skills required for business including; how to build business relationships, email etiquette, chairing a meeting, presenting skills. I have also developed more personal skills, such as being more assertive and managing my time. My degree differs greatly from what I was doing on my placement, so although the skills I have learnt have no direct impact on my degree- skills such as time management will help
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The atmosphere was reasonably stressful- everyone was always working to a tight deadline and wrapped up in their own work. Often the office is silent with people working- no music or radio. However I know this atmosphere differs greatly depending on what brand within the company you are working in.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
I think this depends greatly on how good your manager is. My manager was great- she set up weekly catch ups which provided structure and support. Having objectives set out at the beginning of the internship, which were reviewed in the middle and at the end of the review, really helped give structure to the internship. The role I was in was not structured. It varied greatly depending on what I wanted to do- there was no clear job description which I feel would have helped me in my role.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
At the beginning of the internship, all interns had compulsory legal training. However these were just un-engaging powerpoint presentations. Full time employees get negotiation training and commercial training, which interns are not allowed to have. I think the investment from a training aspect for interns is not brilliant.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
During your placement they will allow you to apply for their grad scheme. The process is long and tough, and you are by no means guaranteed a place just because you're an intern! The grad scheme pays significantly more than an internship, and during the scheme you are rotated around the business so get a broad experience.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There are about 100 interns in the building so there is a large intern community. There is an intern committee, which at the beginning of the year you can run to be elected onto. Members of the committee organise sports events, social events, and create a monthly newsletter. The socials are monthly and provide an opportunity for interns to socialise.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
The office is in Hammersmith (West London). This is an expensive area to live in. Although there are cheaper places to socialise in further West- all of the work related social events were in expensive bars/restaurants in central London. Cost of living was extremely high, especially given the little we got paid (and we're paying taxes on the wages we're given).
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
There is very little to no nightlife in Hammersmith which is where the office was. However you can easily get a tube into central London where there is a whole host of nightlife, with a wide choice. Although its worth noting that regardless to where you go, it is all fairly expensive, and is not like nightlife at university. Introduction of the night tube has made going out much cheaper, as it is significantly cheaper than getting a cab home
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There are very little non work related activities that are done with my colleagues. There are of course many opportunities in London. There is an affordable gym just opposite the office in which you can sign up to classes which is great. Of course there are many things to do in London for free, which is also great.