Buying Intern day-day-to jobs included sample management unpacking samples and sending them off, colour matching lab-dips from suppliers, liasing with design and fabric sourcing and merchandising, writing notes for fit sessions.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
The company was very welcoming and super friendly. I found HR provided a good induction and linked all placement students well with meet-ups and sessions, however there was little structure to the rest of my time there with little work to do other than shadowing people or sitting in on meetings. It is a very relaxed company unlike any others I have interned with in the industry. It was a good first insight into the company however felt very slow paced.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I felt valued and everybody was very helpful however as I was only there for 2 months I felt limited by the amount of work I was given and emails I was CC'd on. My team was already well-staffed therefore there was very little extra work going around and I wasn't really needed on a day to day basis.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
They were supportive and helped where possible.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Not busy, I tried to occupy myself with online tutorials or sitting with other teams when my team didn't have anything for me to do. We were given projects to do during our placement which were good but it did feel like we were given them to try and keep us busy.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I wasn't given much responsibility, for buying a huge part of the role is to maintain relationships with suppliers therefore it wasn't possible for me to take charge of some of this only being there for 2 months. However I was trusted with managing some samples and colour approvals and taking notes on fit sessions.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
It has been a great exposure as it was always a company I wanted to work for. I would recommend it for a first time experience in the industry as it is a nice, slow introduction. I have been party to receiving samples and matching colour samples and lap dips, fitting the garments on our model and seeing range reviews.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Very cheerful, friendly and relaxed. Everyone was super helpful. My manager arranged for me to spend 30 minutes or so with other departments such as sourcing, merchandising, design, finance, .com and packaging. Having moved around different departments I can vouch that the same morale was still there. We would have Womenswear team huddles on a Monday morning for trade including over 50 people.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
From a HR perspective it was well organised with inductions and training sessions however it felt like we were dumped on the buying teams as there was little planned or direction a to what we would be doing on a day to day basis. However the lead up was great and they kept in contact and all the admin was sorted before I got there.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I was able to join my team for any meetings or sessions they were apart of therefore I got some good M&S specific training sessions which were relevant to my role. I worked alongside colleagues to do day-to-day tasks with sample management etc. However I was not given a development plan or any framework to work from therefore if I was to come back I believe I would be starting from scratch again.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
There were no perks with
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
It is a great company and I am so so grateful I have had the chance to work there however during my time there progression seemed hard to achieve from an entry level perspective due to the mature nature of the business and people who work there. Therefore I can definitely see myself working back at M&S further along the line.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
We were all introduced on the first day and had inductions together and training sessions. After that we kept in touch with each other and met up for lunch regularly and did socials outside of work. It was great to be able to share experiences and discuss with them what part of the business they were getting to see.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
It is London therefore rather expensive by nature. There are little lunch options available around apart from a Pret and the M&S simply food shop below which is rather pricey on a daily basis. Even with a 20% discount it is still very expensive and you will end up spending around £5 a day which on a student budget is pushing it.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
The office is located between Paddington and Edgware Road which is very central and dotted on the canal next to a hospital and other offices therefore there are only a couple of bars and pubs in the area however a short tube ride away. You can get to Soho in 10 minutes.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
No I did not hear of any in my 2 months at M&S. I think it depends on the team you are apart of and if they decide to organise anything themselves. I heard of other teams going to watch the cricket together or hosting a sports day however the departments are so big it is down to the teams to set it up.