1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I was a Marketing intern, working in the Hair division at L'Oreal for a year. I found the entire experience extremely eye-opening for a number of reasons:
1. I was given real responsibilities and opportunities to lead and contribute to numerous projects & launches. This came with its own challenges which pushed me to work under pressure and lean out to the wider team to gain support. I found my communication and people-management skills improve as a result of this.
2. I had a very supportive and inclusive team that made me feel like a colleague as opposed to an intern. Yes, there were plenty of ad hoc and ad min jobs that needed doing (eg printing & putting products away), but it was all part of the learning process.
3. The HR department was extremely efficient in that various training sessions, lunch time talks and work socials were frequently organised to further develop our knowledge of the business as well as ensuring that we are given the opportunity to network with other interns.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I was lucky to work in a very inclusive team setting, where I was frequently asked for my opinion on artworks and launch plans. As my internship went on, I was also given the freedom to provide key recommendations and insights on various projects that were subsequently implemented.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Plenty. While I've been thrown in the deep end several times with pressing deadlines, never once did I feel like I was alone - my manager was always there to support and together, we overcame issues as a team.
Quarterly meetings were also held to review my objectives as an intern. I found these appraisals very useful as it gave me a 360' view of what I do well, what I don't and how I can improve.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
We typically have 3 big launches a year as a brand. Besides supporting these campaigns, I am most busy during Fashion Week and holiday seasons (Summer & Xmas) where I find myself having to react quickly to last minute requests or issues.
There was a good balance of workload.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Highlights of my placement:
1. I was in charge of the brand's social media handling where I frequently sourced content, decide on weekly themes as well as come up with various consumer engagement strategies.
2. I worked on the digital marketing campaign for our styling launch where I was responsible of generating online buzz among businesses and consumers. Here, I was given the freedom to come up with insights and ways in which we could meet that objective. As result, I was given the opportunity to work with various external stakeholders to produce a coherent launch plan that was subsequently implemented.
3. Events planning - I was given the task of heading the biggest beauty event of the year, Glamour beauty festival. Here, I worked with my manager to ensure that everything from creative assets, to staff & stock availability were smooth running in the lead up to the event.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I am confident that the skills I developed on this internship will enable me to present in a confident way during meetings, work well under pressure as well as being able to produce and turn things around despite challenging circumstances.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Office politics does exist but all in all, it was a pleasant place to work in.
Fast paced, demanding yet rewarding.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Like i said - there were frequent training sessions and lunch + learns that were put in place for us interns. I found these sessions particularly useful as it gave me the opportunity to learn about the different areas of the business, roles and challenges.
I was also given a clear set of aims and objectives at the start of my internship, which helped define the expectations of each project I was tasked to do. Having one fixed manager throughout my internship provided a good focal point throughout my time at Loreal.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
They invested more time in the grads and full timers, but some effort were invested in interns, in the form of training sessions, talks and lunch & learns.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
There is a grad scheme within the company that we can apply to - this consists of x3, 6 month rotations across divisions. As long as you demonstrate your ability to excel in your internship, your manager is likely to endorse and encourage you to apply for the grad scheme.
This year, there are 30 grad roles available, across 3 different streams: Marketing, Commercial and Finance.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
We have an intern committee where the Social Secs organise frequent work socials, where drinks and entry are all paid for. Thanks to them, we have had opportunities to network outside of work, in places such as Bodos, Mahiki, Embargos, Drama and Fu Man Chu,
Because we are a relatively large intern cohort (>80 people in Hammersmith alone), having these social opportunities was very useful in forming close knit relationships.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
The cost of living in London is generally very high.
I live in Wimbledon, and pay £650 in rent excluding bills and transport.
All in all, this is doable.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
There are a couple of bars at Hammersmith but not many clubs.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Sports: we have a very active Netball, Football and Volleyball team which you can get involved in after work on a weekly basis. We have a sports Sec in place, responsible of organising matches.
Community: This year, we had various opportunities to give back to the community. For example: alongside various charity runs and bake sales, we were able to participate in Citizenship Day where we weeded parks, painted fences etc.