My placement with L'Oréal has been the most surreal, insightful and gratifying year of my life. I had high expectations regarding the level of knowledge, experience and responsibility I would gain during the placement, but these have been completely exceeded and I feel that this experience has infinitely benefited my development, both professionally and personally. There have been occasions in which I have struggled, mainly at times when I have felt a lack of support from my manager, but overall I have found the experience immensely positive.
I feel so privileged that I got to work with a team who truly felt like family. The kindness, support and humour of my colleagues during my placement was the highlight of the entire experience. I was never made to feel like an intern, and was instead treated as a very valuable and trusted component of the team. I was given the opportunity to work on extremely exciting and important projects, and was also awarded great feedback which made me feel very valued.
I do feel that I would have benefited from having a greater amount of support and guidance from my line manager. My manager was extremely good at top-line management, i.e. ensuring I was on projects which would be beneficial for my development and future opportunities. However, on a more day-to-day basis, my manager was at times difficult to approach and ask questions to. As an individual who seeks a level of reassurance when working, I would have benefited from feeling like I could ask more questions to my manager.
I can safely say that I was never bored or without a task to do. I always had projects or ad-hoc tasks to be doing, which meant I felt very stimulated at work and like I was making a valuable contribution to the team. This constant to-do-list of tasks has fostered an immense improvement in my time-management and task-prioritisation skills.
I was privileged with the responsibilities of leading a launch, creating point-of-sale material for the brand's biggest ever launch and creating a tracking report which transformed the way that the brand tracked their performance. This demonstrates the high level of responsibility I was awarded. However, I was always aware of being under observation, which indicates that I was never left fully responsible. Additionally, as in comparison to other interns, I was perhaps only given projects suitable for an intern.
This placement has equipped me immensely well for the continuation of my degree studies and beyond. I feel that my weaker skill sets, including time management, have been very improved, and my stronger skill sets, such as creativity and communication, have been elevated. The training provided, for example in feedback learning and excel workshops, has also been invaluable and will be extremely useful throughout my studies and beyond.
The general atmosphere in the office was one of fast-pace, passion and energy. Thanks to the culture of passion and innovativeness that the company cultivates, the workplace felt like a hub of creativity. People were constantly seeking better ways of doing things and were always willing to take new ideas on board, with regular catch ups encouraged by the company. I also felt like higher management were very open to listening to the ideas of people in lower roles, which I felt was very refreshing. Additionally, the company was always holding some sort of party, pop-up, guest speaker or course in the office, which meant there was constantly fun to be had.
I feel that the overall placement was set up extremely well. From day one I was given a guide for how the internship was structured and it has been completely reflective of that. Everything, from how we are assigned our brands, to how we are reviewed and guided, has been extremely well organised and I have always felt that my development has been very supported.
The investment that L'oreal put into their interns is second to none. The company is constantly offering its employees (interns included) learning courses, invites to guest speakers and events, external seminars etc. In addition to this, the company holds regular trainings for skills such as public speaking, Excel and using feedback.
The prospect of securing a job with the organisation in the future is very appealing. The progression that they offer to their employees, in addition to the perks, is something that greatly excites me. Due to the experience that I have had with the company, I feel confident that a future with them would be very gratifying.
There is a great social scene amongst the intern and graduate pool. There is a facebook group with all the interns on, where people regularly post invites to drinks, events or general queries. There is also an intern society, in which social events are arranged, for example a Thames boat party during Christmas. There are also intern sports teams, such as Football and Netball.
The cost of living and socialising in the area I worked was expensive, as to be expected in central London. The company pay a competitive salary however, and one which factors in the high cost of the location. Whilst budgeting was required, I never felt that the costs averted my ability to live and socialise comfortably.
The nightlife in the area that I worked was absolutely fantastic. Thanks to the abundance and variety of bars and clubs that London has to offer, a good night out was always guaranteed. No matter the weather, day or time, there was always a bar to be found that could offer a good playlist and a better gin and tonic.
The company offered opportunities such as LGBT fairs, fundraising and exercise classes etc. These, in addition to sports teams that the company has, meant that there were a good amount of opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work. I think the company could further explore this, by offering other opportunities such as team hikes etc.