1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I very much enjoyed my time with Marks & Spencer. I gained a thorough understanding of the workings of a department store. This involved seeing multiple areas of the business and learning about the roles that contribute to the store’s success. My colleagues were welcoming and there was always someone around for advice of help if it was needed.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Throughout the internship I did feel valued my colleagues. My fellow interns and I were welcomed to the business and made to feel like part of the commercial management team. Staff were always welcoming on the shop floor. I was never made to feel uncomfortable when asking questions or contributing to discussions.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
We had regular meetings with our line manger and some meetings with our store manager throughout the internship to see how we were finding the internship and how we were progressing. We also knew that our line manger was available for any additional support that we needed on a day to day basis.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Days were full of activity that included a range of tasks. These can range from shadowing staff members from different roles and departments across the store to keeping the floor running smoothly on a more day to day basis. There was always something new to learn and help out with.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
We were given increasing levels of responsibility in the stores which came about in multiple ways. Some examples were that we oversaw a Sparks event for one day, would engage with customer assistants regarding till procedures and we would sometimes be left in charge of the floors. Colleagues were always supportive so it was a good environment in which to challenge yourself.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
As I am studying for a Management degree, my time with M&S will be invaluable. It was a great place to see different management styles being utilised by managers currently in the business which allowed me to assess techniques and their efficiency in the real world. During my time I was able to build on my interpersonal skills and my confidence which will be useful in all aspects of life.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The atmosphere in Marks and Spencer’s was very welcoming and friendly. The commercial management team and store manager were always willing to talk to us and see how we were finding the internship. Section managers were always there to help us and teach us about the company and customer advisors were a fount of knowledge and help throughout my time there.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The internship was well structured to show us the two different sides of the department store. We experienced both the food and clothing departments in our time there in order to fully gain an understanding of the organisation as a whole. This was backed up by spending time with individuals from different levels of management. There was room to influence what you did though, so there was an aspect of flexibility to suit your needs.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
Many of the staff members invested time in our development in store. They would show us systems and procedures in store and we also had the opportunity to shadow staff members which gave us a great insight into the roles that make up the company. We also were given an induction day at the start of the internship to introduce us to the company which gave us a good base for us to expand our knowledge and understanding from.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I would very much be interested in continuing a future career with Marks and Spencer. I felt that the company has a welcoming work environment and opportunities for career progression. The graduate schemes that are run by the company are very appealing after taking part in the internship.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
I have made some great friends from taking part in the internship. We were placed in stores in pairs, which was helpful as you had someone who was in the same position as you. The interns as a whole managed to meet with each other to compare experiences and colleagues within store were social and welcoming.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I was able to live at home and commute in to store which helped with the costs. Leeds was a great place to work though, as it was in the city center so there were lots of options to socialise after work.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Leeds has a great array of Nightlife so there are many options to choose from.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Commuting into work limited the time that I spent within Leeds but there was plenty to get involved with in the city. There would be ample opportunity to get involved in activities outside of work.