I've absolutely loved this year! I was initially a little sceptical of the role/brand I'd been assigned. However, as the year went on, I really understood why I had been given this particular role. I've learnt so much, met some really inspiring people and have so many amazing memories to take away from the experience. I look forward to work and feel proud of the projects I've worked on.
My line manager was amazing - so supportive and always building my confidence. In the wider setting, amongst two very large teams (digital/brand), it can be harder to prove yourself and make yourself heard. Having said this, as trust built, I was frequently given opportunities to present my work to the teams, senior stakeholders and GMs. The feedback from this, and focus on celebrating successes made me feel valued.
I had 1-to-1 sessions with my manager, for at least an hour every week. I felt my manager wanted to hear what I had to say, and truly understood me. I always felt that I could voice any worries. Her feedback, particularly during reviews, was so insightful. We talked a lot about career options, the future, and personal development, which was very eye-opening. I do feel that often the level of support at L'Oreal comes down to who you are assigned as a manager, and how willing you are to ask for help or honestly flag issues.
Work at L'Oreal is extremely busy. I often felt that, though encouraged not to stay past working hours (9-5), it would be hard to be able to properly complete the workload in that time, so often felt I needed to stay later. This was really the norm in the team I worked in. There is a sense of there always being more that could be done. This high workload can make work stressful sometimes, but I think it's better to be very busy than very bored. From the way the placement was talked about by previous interns and my uni, I did expect my job to be this busy and I think it's the reason you're able to learn so much at L'Oreal.
I was given a lot of responsibility and was able to feel that I could truly make a difference to the brand. In the beginning, I did feel like I wasn't able to do work that had much impact, but after discussing with my manager, my responsibilities grew a lot. I ended up surprised at how much I was trusted and encouraged to take an idea and go ahead with it independently.
I think I've learnt a huge amount. Doing a placement really helps you gain an understanding of how to act professionally and build relationships. I think that my degree studies next year will now make a lot more sense, having experienced the context of a marketing team, a large company and real-world business issues. I've attended trainings that I think will help me in my career e.g. on personality types, body language, presentation skills, trends, feedback, etc.
The atmosphere was mixed. I hot-desked between two teams, where one the atmosphere was friendly and fun and the other was a little more serious, quieter but productive.
In general, the atmosphere is good and successes are celebrated. There are really fun initiatives e.g. a puppy destress day, external speakers, cupcakes and prosecco to celebrate key launches and birthday celebrations, all of which help lift spirits and keep everyone motivated. Around key meetings (e.g. visits from the international team), the atmosphere can be tenser.
In general, the work placement was set up well. Starting at the same time as 100 other interns meant a lot of training was organised for a smooth beginning. My specific job responsibilities were not very clearly outlined in the beginning, though it meant I was able to shape the role to projects that I would enjoy and gain the most from. There is a mid-year and an end-of-year review, though I think more frequent formal feedback sessions (e.g. after 3 months) may actually have been useful.
I attended some really useful training, including an all-day Photoshop course, "Like Literally" induction training by Di McDonald and various presentation and soft skill trainings. There were also motivational external speakers. There is an e-learning platform called myLearning but it feels outdated and hard to use. I think more training in harder skills would be useful. I would have liked to have more formal training on digital marketing skills, but the training offered was often very top-line and not by digital experts.
There are two options, apply to be on the Management Trainee graduate scheme, or apply to 'Talent Track' to be fast-tracked into an entry level role if one becomes available. Both are very appealing for different reasons, though it is very competitive since there are so many interns fighting for roles (approx 100 interns). The grad-scheme allows you to do rotations in different roles and brands, which sounds great.
There was an intern committee with social secs to arrange intern socials. Though it was nice to have welcome socials in the beginning and an intern Christmas party, not many actual socials were held. This being said, with so many interns at L'Oreal, I have met people who will be close friends for a long time.
London is expensive. My rent in Hammersmith is costly, but it's the price to pay for having an easy commute and the intern salary is good enough to sustain it. Socialising can be expensive, but it's possible to be careful with money so I mostly didn't feel like cost was a massive hindrance to me enjoying the year.
Hammersmith has a lot of nice pubs. There isn't a huge amount of nighlife actually in Hammersmith (just Belushi's and Be At One) but it's so well connected to central London that it's not much of an issue at all.
There were intern sports teams (Football/Netball) and yoga classes held each Wednesday for the company, though I wasn't involved with these. The team I worked in was very sociable, so we often went for work drinks, and there were also a lot of very fun team days.