1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
L'Oréal is a face paced, vibrant environment to work in. I thoroughly enjoyed my year at L'Oréal, working closely with people in all areas of the business. My role entailed being responsible for merchandising in 9-12 accounts which is a lot of responsibility, however I thrived off of the extremely rewarding aspect of merchandising and the team/working environment. My team has been supportive and really fun to work in, as well as it having a great intern culture.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I have never felt like an intern at L'Oréal, I am really valued as a key part of the team and I have been given plenty of responsibility. I think I have only done 4 coffee runs over my whole year! The team rely on you and show their appreciation if you work hard. It is very faced paced and challenging at times but very rewarding to feel appreciated by your team.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I have been given support directly from my line manager, as well as other senior team members. Some other interns have had less positive experiences, but within my role I have always felt very open and supported by my manager, and able to get her to help me with even the smallest of tasks. In some areas of the business, the turnover is high, and others have had several managers which can be a downside when applying for the grad scheme or getting good feedback or guidance.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
L'Oréal never stops! Personally, I felt more stressed at university doing my graphic design course than at work, however that is not to say that the workload is low. The workload is always high, and I am always very busy. As I have become a more valued team member you have a lot more meetings that take up a lot of your working team, and it is not uncommon to work past 5pm. However I still thoroughly enjoy my role and wish to return to L'Oréal as I feel that the workload and pressure pushes me to do more.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
You are not treated like an intern at L'Oréal - I was responsible for between 9 and 12 retailer accounts in my internship, and my work has real impact on business and sales. It makes you feel empowered and important in your role.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I think there is so many good lessons I have learnt this year, such as time management, prioritisation, and how to network. I have also learnt how to be a bit firmer with suppliers or colleagues to make them respect you and your deadlines etc. This is something I am not naturally like but has proved really important. I have also found that I understand a healthy work life balance a lot more, and will take all of my skills and learnings back to university and into the workplace after graduation.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The atmosphere in the office, and specifically in my team is really positive. We have regular blocked out time for team activities and bonding. As it is such a fast paced industry and workplace, there is always a buzz and the floor is never quiet. On the occasion, there can be a 'toxic' atmosphere if there is an issue, however this is normally easily solved. Aside from that, the atmosphere is great and there is never a day when I don't feel lucky to be in my team and at L'Oréal.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
I feel that the process was very well organised, the interview process was very clear and times/dates were stuck to well. HR are good at communicating any deadlines or information you may need to know. I think the only side of things that is not as 'organised' is the high turnover at L'Oréal leading to lost information and miscommunication. However personally I haven't experienced this.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
L'Oréal are really great at providing above and beyond training. I have been on several training courses such as photography, digital and team building all free of charge. It is unusual for companies to pay for this training for interns.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
L'Oréal offer a grad scheme opportunity, which if you are successful allows you to gain a rotating position after you graduate. They now also offer a Talent Track scheme which is beneficial for roles such as merchandising where the grad scheme may not be for everyone as it is focused on marketing. Merchandising is incredibly niche, and a lot of the current team have previously done their internship at L'Oréal before working full time so the prospects are high within my sector. There is also plenty of room for promotion within merchandising.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
L'Oréal HR encourages the set up of an intern committee, that organise socials, sports events etc. This is really great as you can meet interns in all areas of the business.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
London is extremely expensive to live in! The wage at L'Oréal is above industry standard, which is great, however you can quickly lose sight of your paycheck with the high rent and bills. There is also a lot of casual social activities which cost a little bit at a time but add up to be a lot. As long as you manage your money, it is fine.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
There is a lot of good nightlife in London, you just need to know where to look for it. Around the actual office it is more casual such as pubs and bars, however there are clubs only a short tube ride away which are great.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There are plenty of 'extra curricular' type activities organised by the intern committee such as running club, book club, netball, squash, and socials. This is really good to have. L'Oréal also run yoga every week at the office which is free and good fun. There are lots of gym's etc nearby where teams often go for fun work outs together. Of course, there is always the pub too!