I really enjoyed my work placement at L'Oreal. As an intern you really are given so much responsibility from day one and the opportunities are really invaluable. The internship is really what you choose to make of it, but with so many brands and divisions under one roof, the possibilities for learning more and developing your skills is huge.
I really enjoyed working with my team. My predecessor was highly favored by the team so it took a while to develop a strong relationship with them, but I think this would be the case in any team in any business. Every team within L'Oreal is very different. No two roles, brands, divisions are the same. and that goes for the teams too. I believe the team you work with is central to how much you enjoy your role and what you get out - and I was really lucky to be placed in such a strong, personable team with great knowledge of digital channels from who I could learn so much.
I really thrive off working in a team and bouncing ideas off of one another, but when it comes down to individual work, I am quite self dependent and I believe I manage myself well. I tend to come under pressure when I am micro-managed as this makes me feel on edge and stressed out. I really liked my managers management style as she gave me clear direction in what needed to be done in terms of my tasks and strategy, but she trusted and had faith that I would get these tasks completed and to a high standard without the micromanagement of constantly checking or asking how I'm doing to providing me with deadlines. I felt confident that I could go to my manager if I needed support or was unable to do anything.
At L'Oreal you are always busy. In my role I work across three digital marketing channels for five luxury brands which is a huge workload to manage. This was a struggle initially to prioritize workloads, as often everything will be a priority for every brand - but you soon learn how to manage this. I can't name the amount of times on one hand that I have been sat at my desk with nothing to do, there is always something to be done and tasks to be completed. It can be really stressful sometimes to try and manage it all, but i'm sure most people would rather be busy and have important projects than have nothing to do.
Over the course of my placement I have been given so much responsibility, to the point where sometimes you are mistaken that you are an intern because some of the work you are carrying out is of a much higher level. After three months in the business I was writing the Google ads for all the luxury brands for our peak trading period, a task which is usually carried out by a specialist agency. I have delivered presentations where I have presented my own projects to the head team of the Armani brand, driving ideas for the UK to be a pilot in content production. I've launched a new channel to market for two of the luxury brands, driving considerable revenue and growth - and these are just some of the key projects that I have had massive responsibility.
I think the skills that you develop on your placement will no doubt help me when I return back to university. Firstly the work ethic that you develop over the course of the year, transforming from a student mindset to that of someone in full time work where you are required to concentrate and coordinate a the full day on really important projects. Secondly the theoretical knowledge that you pick up from working across digital channels, across brands which allow you to see a spectrum of how luxury brands have to diversify themselves online in order to succeed. And finally the practical knowledge that you pick up along the way, the confidence that you grow, the ability to network with people that you wouldn't have met previously, the knowledge of the beauty industry which changes the way that you see things moving forward as you begin to view things less as a consumer and more a marketer.
The atmosphere was good! I was lucky to be placed in a really loud, energetic, friendly team full of big personalities. Our team is surrounded by HR and Supply Chain who are a lot quieter than our team and could sometimes be frustrated at our energy. Having previously applied for placements at financial firms, I really noticed such a difference in atmosphere compared to L'Oreal. Everyone is so friendly and has time for everyone, no question is too stupid and everyone is there to help.
I think the organisation of your placement will depend on where you are situated and what team you are in. A lot of my workload is dictated by the strategy of my team and the tasks/projects given to me by my manager - there isn't necessarily a overall program which every intern will follow - and this is more than likely because every role in every division is so different so this wouldn't necessarily be possible.
Intern/Graduate HR put on various training sessions across the year including Corporate Social Responsibility, Legal, Corruption, Ethics, Corruption, Managing Priorities & Time and Anti-Bribery. In addition to these sessions, we also had some mandatory online training which we had to complete as part of our placement which mainly included legislation training as well as a digital marketing training session. This aside, there wasnt really any training relevant to the day to day duties of my role, the division or the industry that I worked in - this was something which I had to develop as I went along or my previous intern handed over to me.
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Working from home
I think the future employment opportunities are great at L'Oreal. They offer a Management Trainee Scheme (grad scheme) in four different areas - so very diverse in the options that are available. The only downside is the amount of places available. There are three rotations a year and they take on about 15 grads each time (from around 70 interns applying just internally). Despite being really competitive, they do this so there is a higher chance that they can offer all those 15 graduates a job at the end of the scheme, as opposed to taking on 70 grads and only offering 15 jobs.
The interns have a social sec who organise all of the intern socials. There is usually one intern social a month which is usually subsidized by L'Oreal. This usually includes free entry and a few free drinks once you are in. All of the interns are invited to these events though the intern facebook group.
L'Oreal is in Hammersmith and I live in Clapham, so around 45 mins commute through two overground trains. I pay around £620 rent p/m in Clapham (not including bills), but my friends who live in Hammersmith pay around £750 but of course they are saving on transport costs. I buy a travel card each week which is £23. If I could go back I would probably live closer to work - despite the higher rent costs, you will save this in transport costs, plus spending 5 days out of 7 at work - it makes sense to live closer. Socialising will depend on where you go - there are some cheap places out there but some expensive too - depends on what area you go!
There isn't too much of a nightlife in Hammersmith, theres quite a few pubs around and bars like Be at One and Belushis, but no clubs. All the intern socials tended to be around Mayfair/Chelsea area. Most people will head into central London for nights out, which isnt a problem as its about half an hour on the tube,
I believe L'Oreal have a football and netball team and hold various other events which interns can get involved in. There are yoga classes in the offices each week. Most people will tend to work their normal working hours of 9-5 which still allows plenty of time to do activities outside of work such as gym or other classes.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
11th May 2017