I could not have got more enjoyment out of my placement year. The studios team, and more specifically, the home ents team made me feel particularly welcome from day one. I had a great amount of responsibility but was supported every step along the way. I was able to enjoy some of the benefits that the company had to offer and very much enjoyed the overall experience of living and working in London. I also could not have asked to work with a better group of interns. The intern community was great and it was easy to make friends with interns and colleagues alike.
I felt very valued by my colleagues. I was given more and more responsibilities throughout my time and the Walt Disney Company and genuinely felt like I was contributing to the performance of the company. Despite being an intern, this was not played upon in the team. I felt equal to the others around me and was even asked by my manager to remove the word "intern" from my email signature as everyone in the team was valued equally.
My manager was particularly supportive throughout my whole internship. I had fortnightly catch ups to discuss targets, progress, and anything I would like to talk about on a professional or personal level. Other team members were also always available for me to ask questions and more than willing to lend a hand where possible. I was also given the necessary support for personal situations and my team were very supportive and thankful for all work I did throughout the year.
I always felt like I could be doing something to support the team. Some days were more quiet than others, although there were always ongoing tasks or monthly presentations that could be prepared and worked on. There were also particularly busy periods, such as weeks leading up to a new film release and Christmas. The team were always supportive throughout these busy periods and were also confident enough to delegate tasks on the quieter days.
The responsibility given to me during my placement grew and grew as I got more experienced with the job. Some of the tasks I was given the responsibility for included crucial research for business decision making and following the Disney distribution strategy which could cost thousands of pounds if attention to detail was missed. Despite the large responsibility, I never felt under too much pressure, mainly due to the support of the team I was in.
I study International Business, and I feel as though I was able to work for Disney during the perfect year in terms of what I got to experience. As well as working in the professional world of business for the first time, I was able to witness the effects of a giant company merger, the effects of a global pandemic as well as seeing how the company reacted to their most successful year ever in studios.
The general atmosphere in the office was welcoming, and overall fairly informal. As long as tasks were completed, it was a happy environment to be in and I genuinely looked forward to going to work everyday. There was a great intern community and team spirit. The office was easy to find your way around and managers offices were very approachable. Interns seats were mixed in with their team so there was a real feeling of community in the office.
The overall placement was set up particularly well. I had no onboarding issues with the company or my university.
I felt as though there were many extra forms of training I was able to sign up to, from mental health awareness training, to learning about how to use new forms of IT. My manager always emphasised that the team would help pursue any other areas of interest I had during my time with Disney as well as contributing information to my research for my dissertation. Any extra support or training was available, all I had to do was ask.
Despite Disney not offering graduate schemes, I learnt that many of their current employees did actually undertake a work placement with the company. In fact, someone in my team went to my university just 3 years before me. The managers and team were all very approachable and conversations about future employment were encouraged. Despite witnessing job cuts through a major integration process, the team encouraged me to stay in touch and would offer any help should an opportunity arise.
I was very lucky with my year of interns. On my floor, we all got along particularly well and got on throughout the whole year. There were also intern events put on by the company, including a 'Welcome to Disney' event where all interns could meet each other. There is also an intern ball which is a particularly fun event to attend as well as the countless opportunities around London, such as joining a 5 a side league with fellow interns.
The cost of living was hard to deal with as a student. The wage of my placement did cover the cost of rent and food, but I really had to budget when it came to socialising. I saw this as all part of the experience and didn't choose to do a placement year to save money. However, the cost of living and socialising in London was a lot more expensive to what I have experienced, although is definitely manageable.
The nightlife in the area I worked was OK, although made a lot better by the people I worked with and the other interns at the company. There was a good number of bars and restaurants surrounding the office, with something to cater for all. Although some were very similar and fairly pricey, I was always guaranteed a good time when going for after work drinks with the team or interns. It was also usually always fairly busy.
There was a number of opportunities throughout the year to get involved in activities throughout the year. Most of these were in work hours and the team were happy to let us get involved.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
9th November 2020