Direct communication with potential/existing clients and the management of the complete sales cycle, including onsite visits when required.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
My placement year has been very enjoyable. I have learnt many new skills in areas I previously lacked them in whilst also gaining insight to the operating processes of a SaaS SME and businesses in general. The friendly atmosphere at ProspectSoft has been a notable characteristic of working here and has cultivated a collaborative approach to work, combining the strengths of different team members to complete tasks. Having a wage was an added bonus!
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
No more than was necessary, no less than was required. Colleagues never failed to take an interest in what I was doing if I needed help and they never hesitated to stop their own work in order to give good advice on topics that I could not rely on my own knowledge for.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
When I had any questions or things I was struggling with my managers were always happy to help even if they were busy. Some questions probably seemed trivial but this was not shown or implied in any way and everyone was more than happy to help, whether this was a technical question about a client’s system, an internal process I didn’t understand, or dealing with a complaint from customers. Besides this I had a biannual appraisal with my line manager to assess my progress at the half-way point of my placement year.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Workload tended to vary a lot. On some days I would be very busy up until the end of the day but on other days I would finish all my work in the morning. I was always keen to find more work to do if possible and asked my colleagues to send over work if they wanted me to do anything. However, if there was still no work to do I usually found some other useful things to do, such as writing a handover document for the student who will be replacing me.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
A good amount of responsibility was placed on me from day one of starting my role. I was responsible for building my own pipeline of leads and customers and was expected to drive these opportunities through the software sales process by myself – from scoping call through to purchase and project implementation.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
Greatly. I have leant a lot but also built upon key skills that I already had. I have consolidated my understanding of the general business world with the key business operations of an SME to give a more in-depth and comprehensive idea of how SMEs function and fit into the broader business landscape. I have also built a good knowledge base on the product and service that we sell. Above all I feel that my soft skills are what will ensure I succeed in the future – customer facing skills such as face to face communication and telephony communication skills, as well as relationship management and leveraging this to drive sales have been great to learn more about. Also, some chances to speak in front of crowds in a professional environment is something I enjoyed very much and it has allowed me to build on my public speaking ability.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Friendly and supportive.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Well-organised where it needed to be. My line manager was always very busy and out on customer meetings so it was largely left up to me to delegate work and structure my days.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
One month of comprehensive training on the business and its key functions processes, including a week of shadowing in our specific roles.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
ProspectSoft is a great company to work for and this is evident through their retention rates of their placement students. I have learnt a lot and enjoyed my time here, but I don’t think the role is best suited to me and my skill set.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Yes. We all got on well and my flat mate and I enjoyed a great social scene all year round and also traveled to see some of the other placements after work a couple of times.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
High Wycombe was absolutely brilliant this year. Cheap to live and the quality of our accommodation was also great. It had amazing facilities on our doorstep all within a minutes’ walk away. The area had everything I needed that was conducive to enjoying my placement year outside of work to the fullest and also had a student’s union, new shopping Center, countless bars and places to eat and was full of other students studying at the local university. I couldn’t recommend it more as a place to live and work for a year.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Amazing. Over twenty pubs, bars and restaurants within five minutes’ walk from my doorstep that were always busy. Combined with very reasonable prices for the south of England made it a great year in terms of nightlife and socializing with other students in the area.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Plenty. The company social committee oversaw the organizing activities for the company outside of work. This included lots of meals as a company as well as in departments, followed by nights out in Oxford. We also had a FIFA night with food ordered in and a company barbecue in August.