Overall, my year at HP Inc has been extremely enjoyable, and arguably one of the best decisions I have made, as my personal growth has been colossal. There have been challenges along the way, which at times made it less pleasant, but following my feedback I believe the programme is being developed to improve future intern's experiences.
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I felt a basic level of respect from my team and wider employee community, however I did feel aware at times that I may not be much more than a low cost asset to the company with little recognition for the work I did until the end of the placement. Following this, there were also times during my placement where I felt slightly excluded due to my intern status, such as the all employee kick-off that I wasn't invited too due to 'EMEA' status, and also some team meals.
The support and guidance I received throughout my placement year has been of an extremely high standard, with weekly catch-ups from my daily supervisor as well as two HP mentors (one inside of the team and one outside of the team). It is clear that the company has a well developed structure of support for the intern programme to help you feel supported both in your role and also within your career as I regularly spoke to my mentors about the next steps I may take as a graduate.
A large part of my job was responding the adhoc tasks and completely regular reports. This was good as it meant the nature of the role could vary considerably however it also meant that there were quiet periods of time with little 'extra' work to do, even after asking my team directly, so my motivation definitely dipped at times. On the other hand, this did leave me with the opportunity to practise my networking skills with the rest of the team in order to find further opportunities for work.
Internal reports were a big responsibility within my role, and I was given a lot of autonomy when it came to deciding what content would go into them. However this was sadly where the responsibility largely ended, as I felt micro-managed when completing a lot of the smaller/adhoc tasks around my role, which left me feeling slightly incapable.
I think that completing a placement year at a globally renowned company will help me substantially when getting a job in the future, but I strongly believe my personal experience will help me out with my career path in many other ways. For example, working closely along side agencies has allowed me to see that it is somewhere I want to get experience/start off as a marketing graduate.
Working with different people and on different tasks has also allowed me to learn about my strengths and where they might fit, and further speaking to mentors set-up by the company gave me the opportunity to discuss how I can apply this in future jobs/environments.
Finally, the routine I have established from a year in industry will help me significantly with my studies next year, as I will be able to management my time around deadlines with confidence.
I worked across 3 different offices over the week, which made it difficult to feel completely comfortable and established around my colleagues in each location until much later in the year, and also meant getting involved with all-intern activities was difficult. Each office had a different atmosphere which I liked as no 2 days would be the same, and it also meant I was speaking to lots of different people.
HP have a brilliantly established internship programme, that has clearly been developed from feedback to ensure both the company and the student are benefiting from the placement year. Whilst there is room for further improvement within my particular placement role, I was given an opportunity to provide this feedback during my exit interview, to ensure some of the issues are fixed for future interns.
For the internship programme, HP provided placement students with out-of-team mentors, allowing us the chance to learn more about the wider company as opposed to just our team, and also the chance to work on our personal development skills using the guidance documents provided by the company. I found this incredibly useful as my mentor helped me when I came into issues with my day-to-day role and wanted an objective opinion on how to go forward.
A benefit of working in my role was the exposure to seeing how agencies worked along-side the company, and made me realise that it is an environment I would like to gain further experience working in when I am a graduate. Because of this reason, it is unlikely that I would return to the company, however if I did have a role in mind I would definitely be interested as I believe strongly in the values and ethics of the company.
The social scene amongst the intern co-hort played a huge part in why my year was so enjoyable, with a large intake of 26 placement students. HP helped with developing our relationships by setting us a target of raising £20,000 for our chosen charity by the end of the year. This resulted in regular fundraising events that allowed us to get to know each other and also make some really great memories, like completing the Tough Mudder. There were also lots of birthday meals and nights out over the year, as well as an intern ball which again allowed us to make many great memories. I have made some life-long friendships!
A serious issue with my placement year was location. Although it was unforeseen, I was told that I would be working in London 5 days a week when I was offered the job, so I moved there, however 6 months in I was told I would be in Bracknell 3 days a week. This meant a 2 hour long commute, as it was too late to move out of my flat, and meant I had to incur the expensive living costs of London whilst the social life was based in Reading with the other interns.
Bracknell does not have a night life, so all interns live in Reading, which is a relatively cheap area for going out (in comparison to London), and meant the interns were able to go on many nights out over the year.
Due to the fundraising target of £20,000, there were many activities to get involved in, organised by the intern committee - from obstacle courses to bucket collection outside of football games, meaning there was plenty of choice and you didn't have to attend everything. In addition, the close nature of the intern co-hort meant there plenty of other social interactions over the course of the year (self-arranged), like go-karting and a trip to Royal Ascot!