1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I absolutely loved the work given to me whilst on the internship. It was always of interest and relevance to both the business and myself. It enabled me to gain skills both socially and technologically; and trust was really given to us Interns, to deliver results on real-life projects.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I worked in a variety of attachments, and within the majority of attachments I felt valued by my colleagues. Even as an intern, my opinion was valued on a wide range of projects and topics, as if I were a full time team member. Hard work and dedication never went unnoticed.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My line manager was absolutely fantastic. From day one, she was engaging and truly invested in our time with M&S. She constantly checked in to ensure we were happy and getting the most of the internship as possible. The support I received, from not only my line manager but all colleagues I networked with during my time, was second to none. I would challenge anyone who can find a company with more supportive, encouraging and helpful colleagues.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
The majority of the time I was busy. Different attachments were busier than others, but over all it was quite balanced. The interns were given a group project to complete - which meant at quieter times, this could be worked towards, which was great.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Again, this varied with attachments. Some attachments and teams truly put their trust in me to deliver real-life projects, that truly had an impact on the business. Whereas other attachments gave me more administrative tasks to complete. Albeit, even the tasks that had less responsibility associated with it, were beneficial and added value to my time with M&S.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
Without doubt, the internship has demonstrated skills I never knew I had and developed existing skills. Particularly, it has developed my commercial awareness and given me invaluable commercial insight, that prior to this internship I had little of. It has shown how important the culture of a business is; and how imperative it is that your morals align with a business' morals. Completing multiple presentations has helped greatly with confidence in doing so - a valuable skill in life.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Could not fault the atmosphere. The culture here at M&S is like nothing I have seen before. During the 8 weeks, I did not network with or come across anyone who is not willing to talk to you, not willing to engage with you, and not willing to better your experience. Everybody is so friendly and that really made the experience for me. The flexible working culture makes the office a pleasant place to be, and means you get to link in with numerous different team members.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Again, I could not fault the organisation of the internship. I had attachments set out for me, prior to starting. When each attachment began, it was clear what projects I would get involved in and the expectations of myself during that attachment. Some attachments were more flexible than others, however, the organisation of all was faultless.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
We were enrolled in multiple E-learning courses, as well as a couple of workshops (e.g. Career Management). We also had the opportunity to engage in an Insights Test, which showed us our personal preferences in a workplace (e.g. whether you enjoy a job based heavily around analytics, or whether your focus in your career surrounds people and their wellbeing). The insights test gave us information we can use to develop skills, and establish where our strengths and improvements lie.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I would absolutely snap up a job, if it was offered, with M&S. My time with them has been as near to faultless as it could get. The culture really is welcoming, inviting and exciting and I would be honored to be a part of that. The opportunities at M&S are endless too - which makes working with the organisation in the future even more appealing.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Yes - absolutely. We worked as a team of 4 HR interns; but overall there were 20 M&S interns. Us 4 HR Interns became very close friends - and arranged social activities at least once every week. Lunch was always a sociable time; and there wasn't a Friday night where we didn't spend it together, during the 8 weeks. I've made some friends for life.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
It was quite expensive in Paddington; but this is to be expected - it's central London after all. There is a lot of options for dining, socialising etc but even the cheapest of choices was still quite steep. It is more manageable with the london weighting on the wages however, and M&S' pay is competitive.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
There are copious bars around Paddington. There are a handful right on the doorstep of the Head Office, which all offer deals and happy hours which was great. The further Central you headed, the more options there were and the more people it catered for. Overall, the nightlife was above what i had expected.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
I feel like the majority of the opportunities we arranged ourselves - the business played no part in any of it. However, there were loads of opportunities to get involved in - from bars, to mini golf, to markets, to outdoor cinema - there was always something new and exciting to do with your peers.