I've really enjoyed my year at Danone, I've learnt so much about the industry as well as the number of different teams and roles there are within companies.
My colleagues were really supportive throughout my placement year - they were always happy to answer questions I had, or help me out in the jobs I had to do. They were all really friendly too, which made my first few weeks really enjoyable, and I have developed great relationships with these people over the year. Their trust in me has grown too, and it's great to know that many senior members trust me to help them with work.
I did feel supported throughout my time at Danone, although I appreciate that it's hard to juggle interns with the day to day demands of the jobs. If someone was unable to help me at the time, they were happy to put some time in the diary to help, or find someone else to help me. There is a lot to learn, being new to industry.
Starting out, I was really busy - it takes a lot of time to understand the different internal systems and processes, as well as different terminology and roles. I was busy for most of my placement, but once tasks became more familiar, my days became less busy, especially towards the end of my placement. In this case, I asked for extra work to do to learn new skills, but this was out of personal interest rather than necessity.
I was responsible for a fair amount in my role - accuracy and meeting deadlines was crucial, and I was responsible for completing different jobs correctly and on time. However, the role was very administrative, which meant that I was not responsible for a huge amount myself, as much of my work supported the work of my line manager. However, it was actually really nice to not be responsible for huge amounts given the amount I had to learn being new to industry. It was nice to have the knowledge that I can have my work 'checked' to make sure it was correct.
You learn so much on your placement year - even just how to use Excel better! You learn more about the kinds of roles you can go into, the inner workings of a company, working in teams etc. My placement has helped me decide what roles I am interested in, and to then tailor my final year modules to help me in this.
The office is in a great location, and the hot desk format of the office meant that you can sit with different people every day (or sit with your team/friends) - which was great. There are regular social events after work, the office parties are so much fun, and there's a great intern/grad group that often do separate socials to get involved with. The office operates a flexible working system too, so it can be quite quiet (especially on a Friday!). But I've always really enjoyed coming into work.
The internship is really well set up in that you know what business unit you're working in, and what role you're in, before you start. In terms of the actual placement year, you start out with an initial set of regular tasks, but the work you actually do varies massively from week to week (alongside the regular tasks). I like that you're in the same role for the whole year, and that you can ask for more work. I was lucky to be given the opportunity to work across more accounts throughout my placement, but that was only at my agreement, and when I felt confident enough doing my initial role.
There wasn't an awful lot of training you got on this placement, it was very top line and induction based and very early on in the placement, so it's relevance didn't seem great enough at the time. If there was the opportunity to do some, it wasn't made obvious to you. However, the firm's culture ensures you are supported and can ask for help/training if you desire.
Working from home
The grad scheme available is quite appealing - a two year scheme with one rotation. However, there are mixed reviews on the availability of roles (e.g. very limited marketing roles, lack of choice for your rotation) which have put me off slightly. Also, there is no guaranteed job at the end.
Teams are encouraged to have regular social events which are always a lot of fun. There are also regular company drinks/events which are also great. There is definitely more scope of a better intern/grad social scene.
Chiswick is a very expensive place to live in, but it's quite easy to get to from further out if the cost of Chiswick is too high. The pubs aren't too badly priced, and there's a great range of restaurants for after work dinners. However, the business park is too far from the main high street to go out for lunch, and the onsite restaurants are fairly pricey for every day (£6+ for a sandwich) - but the office canteen offers cheaper options, or you can bring your own in and use the microwaves.
Aside from a few bars/pubs - there is not much of a night life in Chiswick. However, it's really close to Clapham/Wimbledon/Fulham which is a good night out.
There was not many 'out of work' activities - other than team dinners/drinks. There is an office netball tournament however, if you're into sport, and running club at lunch times on the park if you wanted to go to that. There is a Virgin gym on site too but it's very expensive (£95 per month).
Placement Year (10 Months+)
25th May 2017