1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
Despite a difficult start where I felt a little overwhelmed with responsibility, I loved my time at the company. It's given me an invaluable set of soft skills for a corporate environment and I've gained confidence, going into my final year at uni, that no challenge is too great if I really apply myself.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
In my team we were all very tight knit. We often made time for each other outside of work, weather it be team drinks or sporting activities. I was never made to feel like 'just the intern' or made to fetch coffees - I was given real responsibility and was made to feel like an integral part of any project I was involved in.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My management was very supportive and really encouraged me to do things in my own way. They weren't keen on micromanaging which is exactly what I needed; I was given the freedom to operate autonomously while keeping the door open if I was struggling or had any questions.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I was typically very busy on most days - I had daily tasks which I would have to complete (usually involved being on top of the emails that would come my way), weekly reporting tasks that I would send out to my team, and longer monthly tasks that I would have to do when results for the previous month would go live. While most of my tasks were interesting, some of it was not engaging.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given a lot of responsibility but most of the jobs I had was to report to internal management and people within my team. However I was not given much opportunity to work with suppliers and people outside of the business in my role which would have been exciting.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The soft skills I've gained, for example: networking, presenting, time managing, prioritising and being able to relate to challenges people may be facing both professionally and personally; they will be priceless going forward in to my degree and beyond. Within the company there is plenty of opportunity to also develop your technical skills through the L'Oreal Learning portal. You can improve multiple facets from excel to programming, all you need to do is sign up for workshops.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
It's a very professional environment, however we always took the time to stop and have a chat and joke around throughout the day. This made working more fun and the time fly by most days. Some periods of the year are more stressful than others so it was a lot more tense during these times.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
I think largely it is a very experienced company when it comes to internships because they take such a large cohort of interns every year. However I think the intern committee was really poorly organised in our year and they need to take more initiative to organise more socials and more inclusive sporting activities throughout the year.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
There was a lot of opportunity for self-development throughout the year through L'Oreal Learning and other internet platforms which are fully funded by L'Oreal, ones that allow you to take online courses in a variety of things from learning languages to programming.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Even if you are not interested in the Grad scheme, there is plenty of opportunity for you to come back to the company after you've been an intern here.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
With such a large group of interns you're bound to find a group that you gel with really well. I was lucky to find such a group and we've had a really good year for going to gigs and live music acts. The only criticism is that the intern social committee was really detached from the needs of the intern cohort and the socials they organised were poor.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Rent on average tended to be around £700 which is OK for London. Hammersmith is very close to Westfields in Shepherd's bush and has a lot of sporting grounds and activities in the area.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Nightlife is definitely not the strong point of Hammersmith - for good bars and pubs you would have to take the train more east into places like Covent Garden/ Shoreditch - or go north to Camden. There are a lot of outstanding clubs in London in general though and it's relatively easy to get to with the tube.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There are plenty of social and sporting activities that people can get involved with outside of work. These include the football and netball teams set up by the intern committee. L'Oreal also has great charitable initiatives with fundraisers that involve cycling or running which happens throughout the year organised at brand or division level. Some examples this year include: The Santa Run, Movember Run and the Princes Trust cycling challenge.