It was a great way to meet people that were interested in becoming part of an FMCG company. I particularly enjoyed the atmosphere Danone creates, with it's young environment and open plan office spaces. I believe it is somewhere I could definitely see myself working in the future. Getting to see people roughly the same age as me given such responsibility in such a well reknowned company shows me that Danone really values young talent. I talked with someone that is on placement and has been for only 3 months and was already given the trust to organise London Fashion Week.
During my time at the insight, I got the opportunity to meet plenty of people on placement and that were doing the graduate scheme. They were very forthcoming and friendly, making it easy to ask questions. Additionally, our coordinators were friendly and made it easy to integrate well into the insight programme, asking questions about the unis we attend, what attracted us to Danone etc. I definitely felt like the placement students and coordinators of the event made us feel welcome.
In my honest opinion, I didn't feel like the guidance given as enough. The brief on the first day could have been a lot stronger as I couldn't get down all the information from the slides shown. I would have felt a lot more confident understanding the programme if we were all emailed the slides to refer to following the event to give us a proper understanding of the role. It can be difficult to get all the information needed for the role when someone is just talking to you and do not give you a handout/emailed copy for you to refer to in your own time.
During my time there was definitely an emphasis on working in a team and bouncing your ideas off each other. Additionally, it gave me a chance to really focus on skills that I need to develop over time such as my presentation and being confident speaking in a group of people. Additionally, being able to network is a skill I definitely had to use to get to know people and their interests to relate to them. I feel like this skill will definitely be useful in promoting Danone as a campus brand manager.
The insight was well structured as I felt I knew what was coming next at each point and the days flowed very well. Additionally the agenda was given for each day so it was clear to follow what was going to happen at each interval of the day. However, it could be improved by not allocating such a large chunk of time to activities that did not require it. For example, on the last day we were given a task to brainstorm with fellow colleagues on ideas we were thinking of pursuing at university but in my opinion, the time given was too much and we ended up going off topic quite a bit. Other than that, the timing was pretty good for the other tasks.
The atmosphere was good in my opinion, people that were on the graduate schemes and placements were very warm. We would often get asked how we are finding the programme, if we have any questions and genuine interest was shown in our opinions. Additionally, one placement student really stood out to me because she was very bubbly and showed us the events at Chiswick Park (where Danone is based). Additionally, one grad scheme person I spoke to was forthcoming about challenges she had faced working at Danone which I thought was refreshing. I believe that a company should overall give a positive perception but not make out that everything is perfect. It was nice to know what problems this person dealt with and I liked how they explained how to deal with it. Coming across problems is normal and it was great to here explanations for how to face challenging situations.
I felt as there was not substantial information given about personal training and development on this company. I mainly found that the placement/grad students I spoke to were mainly "thrown into the deep end" for lack of better terminology and received lots of help in the process of getting to terms with their new roles. This is the impression I happened to get. There was mention of getting lessons on the basics but when it comes to actual personal development, there was not much discussed about this. So in future, I believe this must be discussed in more detail.
The insight did a great job of explaining the roles that would be done mainly if you were on the graduate scheme or on placement which I guess represent a full time role. The idea of getting a taste of working in both Sales and Marketing on the graduate scheme is very attractive as it allows you to get a better understanding of what role is more suitable for you.
The culture was definitely made clear by making apparent of the mottos "HOPE" and "CODES" and showing that these are the mottos that Danone hold very dear to them. However, it would have been nicer to get a more in depth explanation of how as CBMs we would be demonstrating these skills.
I was not exactly sure what I wanted to pursue in terms of FMCG, but I definitely knew that I wanted to work for an FMCG company. Having heard how much responsibility you are given from the word go during the Sales & Marketing grad scheme, I definitely have a clearer idea of what I want to do in such a company.
There was a slot dedicated to explaining the reimbursement process at the end of the Insight week. We would expense on travel, breakfast up to £5 and dinner up to £20 (for Monday and Tuesday nights). This could be taken advantage of by those staying in a hotel and those commuting in the morning.
There were plenty of opportunities to meet people working at the firm, especially on the first day. We got to talk to a variety of placement students who discussed their respective roles, explaining what they are required to do on a day-to-day basis. It was a great way to become more comfortable with asking questions and understanding more about how FMCG works.
There was not really much emphasis on networking/social opportunities as such. We were pretty much left to our own devices for this, having dinner expenses did help this. However, it would have been nicer if they had breakfasts/dinners organised for us which then could enable us to talk more after the Insight days. Additionally, I wasn't able to pick up many emails/Instagrams/Facebooks. It would have been nicer to have a sheet of paper for us to disseminate these accounts which would allow us to keep up with our CBMs across the country better.
There was lots of information given about what the employees can do after work! For example, information was given about massages, activities that happen at Chiswick Park and holidays with Danone. It would have been nicer if an actual slot was dedicated to find out more about these activities but overall there was a decent amount of information given in regards to this.
I would recommend this insight to a friend because it gives a more personable side to the company and you get to find out things about the company you wouldn't by following their social media or just visiting the website. There are a few improvements I would recommend to the programme such as improving the networking/social side of things but overall it was a great experience and I got to learn a lot about myself from such a short period of time.
Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
6th September 2018