Interning in the HR department, rotating over different areas.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I really enjoyed the experience overall, everyone who worked for M&S was very encouraging and willing to help. The work that I was involved in was, on the whole, relevant and gave me a really good insight into the area in which I was working. The facilities and location of the internship were also great.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
On the whole I felt valued by my colleges in every attachment I had. There was some variation between the level of responsibility and type of work which was given to me during different attachments and I did find some attachments which required a high level of skilled knowledge were less able to involve me.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
The line manager working with the HR interns was amazing. From the beginning to the end of our internship she was very supportive and always tried to make sure we were in attachments which challenged and interested us. My mentor was also really good at making sure I was thinking about what I might want to do in the future and what I could do to get the most out of my experience.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
There was quite a large amount of variation between the attachments some I found I had the perfect amount of work whereas others I often found myself having to repeatedly ask for things to do. This could be quite demoralizing especially when other interns were given much more responsibility and work.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Again this was dependent on the attachment I was with. In one I was given very little responsibility and I found this to be the one I enjoyed the least. On the other hand I was given a big project during one attachment which gave me a lot more responsibility and allowed me to work both independently and collaboratively.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The internship I undertook was not related to my degree but did give me relevant skills for the future such as project management, stakeholder management and furthered my IT skills. The internship was also flexible which allowed me to explore areas which I found I was more passionate about which has led me to consider more seriously what career I would like in the future.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The atmosphere in the office was really positive, I always felt as though I could approach members of the team and after the first week felt comfortable in the environment. They have smarter working in place so I never felt cut off from any of the team. The building and its location were also great, with really good facilities which made coming to work really enjoyable.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
It was the first year the program I was on ran and therefore we were always aware that changes might be made throughout to improve it. Overall it was really well organised but as with a big organisation things often change and I think that those that organised were amazing at adapting it to suit our needs.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
M&S made it clear from the beginning that they really wanted us to get the most out of our experience and here and therefore I felt very invested in. Even when my interests strayed from the program I was on I felt really supported in the decisions I was making and know that this support will continue in the future which is amazing and I feel very grateful to M&S for giving me the opportunity to do this.
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?
During my internship I spent time in the food department of M&S, which is market leading in terms of development and innovation, due to this I would really love to work for the department in the future. The benefits and atmosphere of the organisation have made the 8 weeks incredibly enjoyable and somewhere I would like to work in the future.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There were a number of interns completing the same 8 week program in different departments during my time at M&S which provided a great group of peers to socialize with. Within the HR department I worked closely with the other 3 interns and hope to stay in contact with them in the future.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
We worked in central London and therefore socialising was expensive, which was expected. Luckily my family live in London and therefore the cost of accommodation and food was not something I had to worry about although I know that others did. The program was paid so I think that for 8 weeks the costs were manageable.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
London nightlife is great, there were plenty of restaurants, bars and clubs in the area which made socialising easier. London also has really good transport links at night, which having grown up here, I find very easy to use and always makes the possibility of going out in areas further afield a possibility.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There were a few opportunities to get involved with activities after work however these were mostly led by the interns themselves. It might be nice if the organisation could organize some sort of night out or trip to the pub during the first few weeks just to give us more of an opportunity to get to know each other.