I truly enjoyed my placement year as due to the unique circumstances of the team I was on I was given the opportunity to have a lot more responsibility than an ordinary intern would. Been thrown at the deep end gave me the opportunity to gain skills quickly and get a true idea of the responsibilities a manager would have in their projects. I was able to brief, execute and manage around 5 big projects from beginning to end.
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It was a bit of a challenge at first given that I did not have a team when I started working. This made it difficult to work well with other already established teams. Nevertheless once the team reorganisation began and the teams were established, it allowed for a well constructed and friendly environment as we all worked as a team, shared responsibilities and knew the beginning and end of people's roles.
Having a new manager that had not worked in the industry at first meant that independent learning was needed in the first 6 months. After a new manager was introduced I adapted to a new way of working, new skill set and team work rather than independent work. His guidance allowed me to learn a lot about the remaining skills I needed to develop.
As I was not assigned to a specific team, the first 6 months meant long hours to complete certain tasks. The awareness that I had of my inexperience in working for one of the biggest cosmetics multinationals meant that I was very cautious with how I managed every project in order for them to perform well and reach the standards of the brand. After a team was assigned, we shared responsibilities which meant we could all work at a perfect balance.
Much more responsibility than expected. After I proved capable of managing this well, I kept on having high responsibilities, which was one of the best aspects of my placement. I enjoyed been accounted for the projects that I worked on and taking part in the entire process; from idea to delivery into store.
Theory is only important once you see it been applicable to the real world. Having the opportunity to not only work with internal but also external stakeholders meant that I was able to learn from a wide range of ideas and ways of working that I am sure I will be able to use in order to further extend my arguments and ideas in university activities, course work and examinations. These skills were not just academical but also personal, as I was able to develop my time management skills, eye for detail and working under pressure.
It was nice, we had some small team activities such as away days, were we get to know our team members. We also have bigger activities such as wider monthly team lunches and sales drives which are quarterly celebrated with the whole brand. Overall it is quiet a happy atmosphere with sometimes music in the background.
We had an amazing started training session called: Like Literally presented by an ex- LOreal HR Manager. We all really enjoyed it and appreciated the guidance as for most of us, this was our first experience on a placement program, working for a big corporation. Very useful and very friendly.
There is a platform with different training opportunities, varying from excel to personal growth. We were also given the opportunity to participate in events such as guest talks, friends and family event and women in science. I enjoyed the talks as well as the Copra Ball for the Look Good Feel Better cause.
It is competitive to get any of the opportunities provided by the company which is of no surprise. However I think it does tailor to people's circumstances such as applying to get a job right after university completion (grad scheme) or later (talent track). What I think it is missing is a support system for non european applicants.
An overall welcoming environment between the interns and nice support from the grads. Interns are willing to work well together in order to reach mutual goals and help each other with their tasks when needed. A netball team was formed and small socials were formed within the smaller intern groups.
Properties were more expensive the closer you were to work. We did benefit from business discount from near by restaurants. There are nice bars near by although they were quiet expensive. Good franchises such as Wagamamas and Nandos. Nice coffee shops as well as a good variety of shops and a small shopping centre.
There are only bars available in the area, a rather quiet night with only some bars that provided loud music such as All Bar One. Nevertheless, due to the good variety of tube lines such as Picadilly, District and City Line, it is not hard to and from work to near by places with a wider variety of options for leisure.
Due to the area I was in I had the privilege to travel around nationally for refits, new store openings, different retailer visits and big projects. I was therefore exposed to outside stakeholders and once invited to attend the 2018 Copra Ball which was a life changing experience I enjoyed taking part of.