Worked in the commercial PC marketing team. Mainly focusing on commercial events, but done some overall marketing campaigns as well.
My year at HP has been invaluable to my development and I have thoroughly enjoyed experience - the placement year has delivered over and above my original expectations. It's not often that an intern is able to say that they have had the opportunity to travel to and work on events taking place in both Barcelona and Las Vegas in a global marketing role, so I feel extremely privileged to have gained the experience I have at HP in the Software Services Marketing team.
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I felt extremely valued by my colleagues. The main reason I felt this was that I often received regular feedback and the opportunity to have 1:1 meetings that monitored my progress. With this kind of support I was able to understand what to work on, and then in turn get the opportunity to prove myself across various marketing activities.
My team were extremely supportive from the offset. Each intern is given a handover period that allows the replacement to settle into the role. I was one of only a few that didn't get this luxury as I replaced a graduate, but this kind of support is usually in place which is a fantastic way to "pass the baton". One of the main difficulties though in my role came with working in a global team is the lack of a team presence in the office - I often had to work alone but I was still able to cooperate and gain support virtually with team members. It was fantastic experience when it comes to working independently.
As my primary role was working on a bi-annual event, the busy periouds would come in waves as there were a large number of deadlines in the lead up to each event that had to be met that were spread across each month. Essentially, as the events got closer, workload would increase - the nature of my role meant that day-to-day routine was less frequent, but mirrored each half of the year as the requirements for the two events was the same. There would be periods where I wouldn't have much work at all, but I found it important to fill this time with personal development - HP offers so much in terms of resources that can help you grow.
With my placement in particular, after proving myself early on I was given the opportunity to lead huge activities in the lead up to and during HP Discover, of which carried big implications. To have received this kind of level of responsibility in an internship role is unbelievable, so I am extremely thankful for the amount of faith put into me to lead projects such a the Discover Vegas Speaker Sessions, CABs and Meeting Center for HPSW Professional Services and Education. This high-level responsibility on a global scale made me feel extremely valued by my team. The harder you work, the more credibility you can achieve. The placement really is what you make of it.
Skills, experience and training I have explored on my placement are going to be a lifesaver when it comes to finishing my degree and beyond. For university, the 9-5 routine I've experienced is going to change my work ethic and focus tremendously. When I finish my degree, all of my experience will be useful in its own way - the key thing for me is also realising what avenue I want to go down in Marketing after doing this placement.
Personally, the corporate atmosphere was not for me as much as it may be for the next person. However, this is also on the premise that there weren't often members of my team in the office, so for other teams around the office I think that the atmosphere is a lot better from a working point-of-view - overall it can be great depending on the nature of your team. The office includes a fantastic cafeteria with a great variety of food available, changing daily. There are also TV screens around the office, a ping-pong table in the cafeteria and several displays showing HP innovation, all of which adds nicely to the experience. The Bracknell staff do really well to hold lots of events throughout the year too.
I think HP have done an incredible job in ensuring first and foremost that each intern gets handed real, first-hand experience - there isn't a single role that doesn't allow you to get stuck into tasks. As previously mentioned, the handover period is a fantastic thing to be in place - without it a lot of interns would find it very tricky to find their feet initially. Given that Bracknell is a location quite far from home for a lot of interns, the majority also need to find a place to stay at first. HP do really well to offer interns the chance to move into Reading University halls of residence for a month to get to know each other and then, as a result, choose houses amongst each other. The first month was extremely fun with a lot of activities put in place by predecessors.
My team in particular were extremely good at pushing personal development. I was able to take on courses that cost a fair bit of money, for example an external presentation training course that really helped me develop my speaking skills. There is also the resource, "HP University", a part of the intranet that allows a huge variety of courses to be accessed - from Microsoft Office to product training. There is so much to take on, but again, it's down to you in terms of how much you want to develop - make the most of what's on offer, there's loads!
HP seem to offer a lack of Marketing opportunities for Graduates, so it's difficult to say if I could reapply as I don't think there is too much available. However, I would happy to go back to my team if given the opportunity, but it still feels so early on in my career that a decision would be difficult if they reached out to me. Two members of my team were previously interns, and they are doing extremely well in key roles at HP in the Software Services division. But, like I said, it's very early on for me, so it's difficult to say.
The intern community was fantastic. In our first month we were greeted by the intern ball which was a huge amount of fun as well as a good opportunity to say farewell to the previous interns. The intern committee has a social representative that is responsible for putting lots on throughout the year to keep us busy. The area of Berkshire is great, with places like GoApe not too far away. There's always something to do at the weekend!
Cost of living isn't too bad at all in Berkshire. I personally liked the fact that the salary meant I could be totally self-reliant and not have to text Mum or Dad asking for £20. Our house that included 3 interns excluding myself cost £325 per month, with easy access to the A-road leading down to Bracknell. Drives to work would take 15-20 minutes each day from the Wokingham Road area. Socialising could cost a fair bit, but that's mainly because after a long week of work you're bound to go the extra mile and treat yourself that little bit more at the weekend.
This was a fun aspect of the intern community - the regular social events taking place throughout the year and nights out on a weekly basis. After getting paid, you'll think you're Richard Branston on a night out (I certainly did as this was my first time earning a decent amount), and the experiences are great. There is a fair amount of variety in terms of venues available, but some are better than others and after a while it can get a bit tedious heading to the same sticky dancefloor at Q, but with good company it's a laugh. The best night to go out is a Thursday as students are still out, but do this at your own peril with work of course being the next day.
HP boasts a UK&I Intern Committee, which is fantastic to get involved in. I'm proud to have held this position, representing Alexander Devine, to help raise money that will go towards the build of Berkshire's first children's hospice starting in 2015. Throughout my placement year we have managed to fundraise through a wide range of activities with the participation and support of HP employees. As a committee we were set an overarching target of £100,000 by the UK leadership team that we have had to work towards by raising money across four charities (Alexander Devine Children's Hospice, Cancer Research, The Prince's Trust, and Comic Relief) by August 2015. This brings a fantastic addition to the CV, as well as fantastic networking opportunities. We're all extremely proud of our involvement and efforts - I would definitely recommend this to any intern joining HP.