1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I really enjoyed the Finance placement at Danone, especially during the 2nd half when I was fully up to speed and able to contribute positively. The level of responsibility surprised me in the beginning, but actually this made me enjoy my role much more.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I felt extremely valued by my colleagues. My colleagues showed me how they valued me through trusting me to take on important tasks like helping to prepare forecasts or taking the lead on presentations to managers.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I had two managers across my placement year. The first for 6 months, then the second for 7 months. I felt particularly supported by the second manager as we had weekly 1-1 or 2-1 meetings to discuss the priorities for the week as well as progress meetings to see how I was getting on.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
In the beginning I felt very busy but I think this was natural since everything was quite new for me so it took my a long time to do certain tasks. Once I had settled in I think the balance was just about right. We unfortunately had a vacancy in the team for a few months but the rest of the team worked so well together that the workload hardly felt any different.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given a tremendous amount of responsibility and this exponentially increased as I started to feel more confident. I was quite surprised by this at first but it the balance was just right so that I could achieve my goals and still feel really satisfied when I did. (Making tea and coffee is definitely NOT the main responsibility!)
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
My work ethic has definitely improved. I think this is because during a typical work day, I would work more efficiently than I maybe used to when I was studying before (i.e. 9-5.30 with a 1 hour break =7.5 hours of work, whereas before if I was studying 9-5.30 I would do a lot less than 7.5 hours of study). The placement helped me to improve my organisation and time management as well as my communication skills.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The atmosphere in the office was great. The office was open plan so it was really easy to get to know everyone. There is quite a relaxed feeling but at the same time everyone gets their work done. Hot - Desking meant working in a different seat each day which ensured you meet people in different departments
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Very well organised. Particularly once I was up to speed with the 'ins and outs' of the business, I felt like my manager helped me hugely with our career development meetings. It was made clear to me what tasks I was responsible for and my progression was really well organised by my manager and colleagues.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
As mentioned above, I had frequent meetings with my manager to discuss my career development. However another member of my team invested significantly in helping me with the work. She was a great mentor throughout the placement year. So I felt like I had great support from two managers. The company as a whole put on some really great experiences as well to celebrate certain business achievements - this clearly went down well with everyone.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
For me they are very appealing. I would love to return to the same department in the future if there was a position for me. My manager offered to stay in touch with me so we could communicate about this from time to time. The offices in Chiswick Park are a great place to work as well so this makes future employment prospects even more appealing.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Definitely. In all of Danone at the Chiswick Park offices there were 20+ placement students. We often came together for lunch or other activities outside work. A member of staff put us in contact with each other once the placement students had been chosen and this really helped to know who else was in the same position as you.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Cost of socialising in Chiswick was quite high. However I was commuting from outside London so my cost of living was a bit more manageable. There were some really nice food places in the Chiswick Park offices and these varied each day. Overall, I thought they were relatively affordable. But there was always cheaper options.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
The nightlife was really good. Some of the other placement students who were sharing rented accommodation in or around the Chiswick Park area so this was good for all the placement students. Chiswick is also very well connected in terms of transport so you could go anywhere you want pretty much.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Yes - with friends from the office. During lunch there were often some really fun and relaxing activities run by the Chiswick Business Park. Outside of work there were often team meals or team drinks to celebrate certain achievements or someone entering or leaving the team. The area is well connected so you are never far from whatever you want to do.