I think placement has definitely been a beneficial experience and something that I have enjoyed. I have been challenged and can say that I am a different person now compared to when I first arrived at J&J. The type of work has been varied, my role has given me the opportunity to work across various brands & my colleagues have been a joy to work with. I also think that placement has been a much-needed break from studying, and I will appreciate, approach and enjoy university differently when I return.
I think the level to which I have felt valued by colleagues has definitely been an important factor as to why I have enjoyed the year so much. One of my fears coming into placement is that I would be the ‘water boy’ for a year, but that hasn’t been the case. Quite often people in my team of higher status will come and ask me questions and for help, and overall working in marketing there has been a friendly and welcoming atmosphere where I can go up to people in different teams and ask for support.
My manager has been fantastic this year. She gave me the tools, advice & guidance at the start of the year to become an independent worker, such as tips on how to be better organised. But also the placement year is about learning & whenever I have had a question or needed support she has taken time out of her busy day to assist. In depth quarterly review sessions have also helped to identify areas for improvement so that the projects I am given over the next quarter help me to improve those skills.
Every placement in marketing at J&J will probably have a slightly different answer to me for this question because of the nature of the brands. For example, the largest chunk of my work was across a Winter brand, so in the build up to the season beginning in September and then through to February when the season ended, my team were rushed off of our feet and really busy. Since then, naturally it has been a bit quieter but my manager has always encouraged me to keep her informed of my workload and speak up if I find myself ‘twiddling my thumbs’ so that she can find a new project for me. However, as my role is split 50/50 across my brand team and then the professional/ pharmacy marketing team who work across all brands, when we’re out of season for Winter, my workload has been topped up from the other half of my role.
I would definitely say that I’ve been given more responsibility than I thought I would have been given, and rather than being just the placement I do feel like an important part of the team and that the projects I work on are integral for the brand. Quite a big chunk of my work is project management related and from the second quarter, I have been in charge of single-handedly delivering marketing campaigns across various brands, with my manager taking a step beck, letting me get on with it and just being there for support if needed.
I don’t think I can stress enough how much completing the placement year has changed my outlook on university, and how unorganised I actually was in my first and second years. For starters, I chose to live at home this year, but home is 65 miles from work, and almost 2 hours each way in rush hour, but J&J gave me the option to flex my hours so I get in the office for 7:15 & leave at 3:45, so my journey in only takes 1 hour & 10 minutes, and 1 hour & 20 minutes coming home. Waking up at this time seemed impossible, but once I’m in a routine this actually isn’t very difficult at all. Next year at university I naturally won’t wake up as extremely early but it will make me organise my day better and use time more effectively. Furthermore, my manager has requested I use my Outlook calendar to plan my day. It takes no longer than 5 minutes every morning & I am so much more efficient now because rather than having a large chunk of time free to work where I would have previously slacked, I now have short time slots to work on different projects & get done what I need to. I will 100% take these learnings and use them in my final year and future life and more than likely achieve a better grade as a result.
The general atmosphere has been good. Marketing has it’s own section of the overall office and with the Ministry of Fun (of which I am a part of), there are lots of seasonal fun activities to allow us to get to know each other better & act as a break from work. My brand team are great and really get along.
There are around 10 placements in marketing and others working in other departments. This is great for settling in and feeling comfortable & overall the placement scheme seems well set up. For example, every year they run the Placement Project, which is a cross functional project where we have to pitch an idea to senior managers with the winning team receiving a monetary prize.
The company invests a lot in our training and development. Placements have the opportunity to attend all of the training that the rest of marketing are able to attend, and we are expected to complete monthly online & in-person training sessions, as well as other online training programmes, such as a personalised learning planning that we are given.
My answer to this question has recently changed due to the restructure currently occurring at J&J, with less positions to be promoted to above grad level. I think they are still a future employer I will consider applying for, and the company is great to work for, but I do find that there doesn’t seem to be a huge difference between what the grads are doing and the placements, so I may look for a new challenge after university.
Yes. With there being a large group of placements at J&J, and the fact we are put in contact with each other before we start so a lot of people even choose to live with each other, there is a good social scene amongst us. I spend my lunch breaks with the other placements and we sometimes organise social events outside of work.
I’m probably not in the best position to answer this question as lived at home but the average monthly rent seems to be around the £550 rate. Furthermore, with J&J marketing moving from Maidenhead (an area that will soon have Crossrail) to High Wycombe this could also have an effect on the cost of living.
The nightlife in Maidenhead isn’t amazing to be honest. There is one club which is quite a fun night if you’re with the right people but quite often we will go out either in Reading or London. The train from Maidenhead to London Paddington is like 25 minutes if you catch the fast train so you’re never too far from a good night out.
Relatively. J&J gives all employees 5 paid days to volunteer every year; this year I have completed these days with the rest of my team and this has been really rewarding. I’ve also competed in a J&J football competition and there are regular meet ups for those wanting to play socially.