L’Oreal was one of my dream companies to work for but I was constantly on a roller coaster while at my internship, reaching very high highs (ie: big projects, a lot of responsibility, autonomy, seeing the impact of my work on the wider business) and some very stressful lows (ie: unsupportive team, negative and stressful atmosphere, minimal team bonding, constantly having to work late hours, large workload).
While I can say I am happy I did my internship at L’Oreal, I can also say that it was a challenging journey and almost all interns during our last week left feeling mixed emotions. I wish our HR intern & emerging talent team was more hands on and checked up on us. I remember only seeing them once in the beginning of the year. It would have been helpful to check up on us mid year to see how things were going and help with the stress.
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I only felt valued by three people in my team, who would praise me when I did a good job and give me constructive feedback when I had room to improve. My other colleagues often made quite negative and condescending remarks to me on a regular basis which really affected the way I felt about the company culture and often made me doubt myself.
Moreover, I strongly believe that the way you look or dress should not affect the quality of work you can deliver but I remember during my first week I was told I should change the way I dressed (ie: start wearing heels) in order to fit in better and be valued by my colleagues better. I wish I had more regular constructive feedback, not destructive.
My manager was amazing, she helped me settle into my role and expand to other areas of the business I was interested in which I was super happy about because now I know exactly what I want to pursue after graduating. If I could change one thing it would be the level of support I had. I found that the number of 1 on 1 meetings I had with my manager varied. Sometimes we would meet weekly while other times only once a month. Had we met more often, I think I could have progressed a lot more in some areas.
This really varied. Sometimes I would be at the office until 8pm because of the large amount of workload I had while other times I would have a small amount to do and I left at 5pm. I always managed my time appropriately and delivered to the business on time.
Large amount of responsibility. I worked with very senior people in the business regularly and was able to manage some very complicated projects. I loved the level of autonomy I had because I could really own my work and apply my creativity to it.
However, whenever I sent a huge analysis to the business via email, I would only hear back with feedback/questions from a few. So again, I was unsure who was actually utilizing the work I produced and whether it was useful to them.
I did not receive a high level of training by the company but I did learn a lot of skills on the job with my day to day work. The biggest skill I will take with me is how to manage workload and how to act with different stakeholders both internal and external to the business.
In the area I sat, the atmosphere was quite quiet. Everyone had their earphones in and was focused on their workload. People are lunch at their desks often and we had team lunch around once a month.
I liked that I sat with a very focused team but this often led me to be afraid of disturbing people by asking them questions.
It felt more organised in the beginning but then towards the mid way point, we had very little direction about grad scheme from the company.
My placement tutor from my university checked up on me mid way of the year and encouraged me to reach out to HR for more information on grad scheme which then I found out that there were several restrictions I hadn’t known about: everyone in your team needs to put you forward/give a good appraisal otherwise you won’t be eligible for grad scheme, international students can’t apply for it, and you need to undergo several stages before you are shortlisted. I wish we had been informed of the above points sooner in the year rather than 3 months before we ended placement.
A lot of the things I learnt was via on the job training mostly through trial and error. My manager was helpful to guide me through building quality of the work I delivered. I feel like I have come a long way in the type of presentations I give and the level of analysis I go into thanks to my manager.
You can apply for grad scheme but they don’t tell you which year/ROTA you will come into until very later.
You can also apply internationally but you need to use your own internal contacts for this.
It’s a very complicated process that I’m not the biggest fan of and I find that nothing is guaranteed while a few options are available.
Yes, quite a good social scene organised by the wider intern group (such as intern committee) and among the wider teams/divisions within L'Oréal. My team did not have many socials so it was nice to network and build connections beyond my team through other social events organised by the company.
London is quite expensive as a city itself so it was no surprise that the cost of living was expensive. My flatmates and I used the bus sometimes and walked to other times, when we had more free time. Transport is expensive but if you get an Oyster card, it’s much cheaper.
Lunch at work becomes quite costly but there are options to eat or get takeout from shops nearby in hammersmith. I often got food from outside or brought in my own lunch.
Socializing is also expensive but there is so much to do which I loved!
Hammermsith has a few bars but we often went to soho to socialize as there were more options for food, drinks and night life there.
There are always events going on in central London. Hammermsith doesn’t not really much to offer during the evenings but at least it gave us the opportunity to explore the surrounding boroughs.
Not many L’Oreal related activities outside of work. There is free yoga every Wednesday at work and occasionally there are some charity related events organised by the company that are quite fun!
There are endless amount of activities and social events in London outside of work that you can go to.