Archive | Featured Intern

My Placement At Samsung

My name is Danny Kent, I’m a 4th year BSc Marketing student who completed a placement year in European PR & Communications at Samsung Electronics.

My placement year was a rich and diverse insight into the operations of a multinational brand. Having completed a lengthy application process including steps such as online tests, digital interviews and assessment centres, I began with an induction week where I learned everything about Samsung; its products, history, culture and systems. With the extensive help of the placements office, I had done plenty of prior research for both my application and also to get placement-ready, but this added another layer of useful knowledge for me to begin working with.

 

Samsung’s fast-paced culture was emphasised strongly by everyone I spoke to before starting, and it was just so from start to finish on placement year. Within my first month, I was already heavily involved in the launch and reporting of a major flagship mobile: Galaxy Note10. Almost immediately after, we had major tradeshows and campaigns to complete before the end of the year, including a major tech tradeshow, IFA, in Berlin in September as well as an anniversary campaign, SpaceSelfie in October. This busy schedule is indicative of Samsung’s leading role in global business, and of the technology industry itself in its constantly evolving landscape.

In terms of direct experience, I was so fortunate in that Samsung’s interns are an integral part of their team structures and so are treated as genuine employees. This meant I had more responsibility than I ever imagined before starting and was provided with so many opportunities. Highlights for me include leading the organisation of over 300 journalists and media representatives in exclusive pre-briefings of the Galaxy S20 in Munich, Germany; arranging and conducting interviews with leading fashion media outlets such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Vanity Fair for Cara Delevigne (an amazing day in London at the Renaissance Hotel, St Pancras) and also working directly with film crews on independent campaigns such as Galaxy Note10 sustain, where we worked with an artist called Hey Reilly to deliver a project called ‘Mobile Masterpieces’.

A few months into my placement experience, my line manager departed and the team was a manager short for quite some time. From then on, I reported into a new manager but I really feel that this moment was a big checkpoint in my year in industry because I needed to step up to help the team further in managing our busy schedule with a reduced team size. This increased involvement and responsibility was integral to the growth and development I feel so lucky to have had in my time at Samsung. The launch of S20 in Munich (February 2020) felt like the first big step in this process, being the first major flagship campaign I had taken a leading role in. Our calendar from then on was packed with events and work I was really excited for: media trips to HQ in Korea, Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Fuorisalone in Milan and IFA in Berlin. Unfortunately, the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic would curtail all of these trips and throw us into an unprecedented period for businesses, and see me working from home for virtually the entirety of my remaining months at the company.

 

With hindsight, despite the frustrations and uncertainty at the time, the shift to entirely digital working through the pandemic gave me experience in how to adapt and overcome swiftly in times of hardship and uncertainty, as well as how to work remotely. We delivered our first ever virtual launch and pre-briefings of the Galaxy Note20, and also an augmented reality event called ‘Life Unstoppable’, where we worked with digital agencies to build a graphical smart-home space showcasing our integrated cross-category portfolio. Given that I started in the summer of 2019 and finished in September 2020, I suppose I can look back on my placement year as having given me the best of both worlds, and I feel prepared for both styles of working when I return to the workplace.

 

Looking more into the actual skills I developed, my placement really helped me grow as an individual, providing a solid foundation for developing professional skills. The difference in my confidence between starting and finishing was enormous. I now feel comfortable speaking in front of large numbers of people, having done so on a weekly basis to our PR managers across Europe and also taking advantage of free presentation training days provided by Samsung. That increased confidence meant I threw myself into more opportunities such as briefing journalists/analysts on new devices, writing press releases and creative asset development with agencies. Such skills, I believe, directly translated into improved performance in my final year of study; I stuck to my established working routine and was able to apply experience from Samsung often as a valid case study in a few assignments. This undoubtedly helped me to achieve First Class Honours, something I was not on track for with my second-year grades.

 

Most importantly, I have secured a graduate role back in the PR team at Samsung, starting in September 2021. This has been an immense weight off of my shoulders throughout my finals, making me feel much more relaxed in the knowledge that I have a clear next step in my life. The familiarity of returning to Samsung makes the prospect of transitioning full-time into the professional world much less daunting, and my existing experience in the PR role fills me with optimism that I can really kick on and achieve a lot over the next two years. My aspiration is to gain promotion to a Junior Manager role at the end of my graduate scheme, and I hope to stay at Samsung for a number of years.

 

As my time at Southampton University draws to a close, I feel immensely grateful. I would never have had an opportunity to work at a company like this without the guidance and support from the placements office and my supervisor Rochelle. I truly believe they are the university’s strongest and most influential department in terms of advancing students’ skills and supporting them in building a platform for the chapters of their lives beyond university. These 4 years have been an adventure I’ll never forget, and now I look towards the future with a similar excitement to the one I had when I started my uni story in 2017.

 

 

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Working from Home on Placement – Why should you still take that opportunity?

Working from Home on Placement – Why should you still take that opportunity?

I would first like to outline that I won’t be able to draw a comparison between working from home and working in an office as will most likely finish my placement without having ever stepped foot into the Hewlett Packard Enterprise office.

I am currently working for HPE as a Business Development Support Intern. My experience with working from home has been very positive, despite it being different to what I had hoped for. One thing that should not discourage you from choosing a placement year from home is taking on the role. You will get so much support and everyone will be really understanding that you are not going to know everything when you first arrive. They give you time and very good communication (especially now I am remote working) to ensure I know everything to play my part.

There are pros and cons of working from home during your placement year, the most immediate negative aspect you will notice is the reduced social life should you choose to live back at home for money saving purposes. But if you decided to live with your friends, you will have a more sociable time, but remember you’ll be working full time 9-5! However, the biggest benefit to working from home during your placement (if you are fortunate enough to live with your parents) is that you will have very good income with very little expenditure. You will save so much money for whatever purpose you want; holidays, next year’s rent or general saving is an incredible benefit you wouldn’t otherwise get. But ultimately, you can live anywhere with an internet connection which is cool if there’s anywhere in particular you have always wanted to live. You can still get a student loan to help with rent if needed too.

Thankfully I have still been able to develop my skills & experience whilst WFH. I have still been progressing my communication to a more corporate, professional level with day to day interaction, my confidence has been boosted as I must still give presentations to large groups even if it’s on Teams. Additionally, I have still been developing my PDP (personal development plan) with my manager and Early Careers Lead where I highlight my objectives and which areas of experience I want to develop and they give me the right channels and space to do so. Nothing much is different about developing your skills whilst WFH as you’ll still be conducting day-to-day business and you are still allowed to look into other areas of the business for broadening your abilities.

There is a lot of things to weigh up so I have made some bullets below to start you off thinking. One thing I would take away from this is that it’s still worth it to undertake a remote working placement.

Pros Cons
Great experience and skill development in a business environment. Missing university social life
Saving good money (if living at home) Not meeting other interns in person
Living more comfortably than at university Potential difficulty with accommodation
Less pressure than in an office Living with family for a long time gets boring
Online work social calls to keep connected and keep it fun  

 

If you have any other things to consider then speak to the Placement Office, they are great with any questions you have & have helped me a lot throughout the process to please utilise them!

 

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My Placement So Far: Rainbow Designs

Hello Everyone,

Hope you all are doing well! As I have recently completed five months of my placement, I just thought of sharing a bit about my journey so far. Firstly, let me introduce myself. My name is Dibyayan and I am currently undertaking my placement as a Business Analyst at Rainbow Designs. I study Accounting and Finance and will be returning to the university this autumn to complete my final year.

I will now be sharing the benefits of undertaking a year in employment whilst still enjoying the aspects of being a student. I have structured my suggestions in a Q&A format that you will find below. Hope you all find it useful!

  • My experience of finding a placement:

Here you will notice a good few mistakes I made so that you can avoid them! Now, I started looking for a placement in October 2020 and had only applied to about five companies until March 2021. I had received the confirmation of being invited to the final stage of two of the five companies in December and was quite confident that I will at least make it to one of them. February comes and I get rejected. Fast-forward a few weeks to March and I get rejected again. Boom, I am now stuck in the middle of a pandemic with 0 applications and a dwindling hope. Essentially, I underestimated the competitive nature of the assessment centres. You can probably guess what I did then – Sent about 50 applications to any company that I could still find online. It is safe to say that if not for the Business School’s Placement Team and my advisor, I wouldn’t be writing this today.

So, be ambitious but be more strategic than I was. Open up to more options as there is no such thing as the ‘perfect’ place to begin any career.

  • My experience during placement:

 

Firstly, I have been very lucky to have a great manager. I genuinely believe the experience of any person at work is strongly determined by his/her supervisor. To have someone who trusts you to get something done, and is also willing to teach you better ways to work is invaluable. Secondly, the culture of any company is why you want to work for them. I am glad to say that I work with some of the nicest people I have ever met.

 

My role as a Business Analyst allows me to work cross-functionally with multiple teams across our business. The cliché of being more than a number is not just a statement here. I am trusted to deliver various reports that could impact our profitability, operations and brand awareness.  An aspect that I was pleasantly surprised about was that I had regular access to the senior leadership team of our business. Starting from our principal shareholder to the senior level managers, they are all happy to answer my questions. Regardless of what my future full-time career might be, the experiences that I gathered here will play a key part in my success.

 

  • Why should you do a placement:

 

I will list the most important points below since there are so many!

  • You get to gain a good understanding of the real world of work. You demonstrate and get answers to:
  • How to work well in a team?
  • How to meet deadlines?
  • How to communicate in a business environment?

Most importantly, you get an answer to, “Do I want to do this/something similar, for the rest of my life?” If you ask me, this alone is enough to do a placement.

  • You get a competitive edge in the graduate job market – A good degree, some part-time experience whilst at university, and also a good few months working in a real company! You’re hired!

 

Oh, did I mention you get paid for all this? Talk about a deal!

I hope this gives you a rough idea of what to expect. If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on LinkedIn. Good luck!

 

Kind regards,

Dibyayan

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The Benefits of a Placement Year at 2 Circles Communications

This blog post was written by Dulky a BSc Marketing student currently on placement at 2 Circles Communications

 

 

Over 40% of UK graduates fail to land graduate level jobs after university, with almost two thirds of employers believing experience is the most important asset when recruiting rather than qualifications. Recent studies have shown that 72% of employers admit that too much emphasis is placed on qualifications and not enough on experience.

Many students make the mistake of assuming that their degree alone will qualify them for a job after university. Realisation often hits after graduation that they don’t have the skills or experience needed for their desired graduate role and must settle for something less suited to their preference or spend money on further courses and training programmes to help provide them with those skills and experiences employers are looking for. Noah, who spent his placement year with 2 Circles Communications, felt his experience helped improve his employability, “Working here at 2 Circles has given me a great portfolio of work to showcase my skills and qualities and lots to talk about in future interviews”.

Placement years are becoming an increasingly common option amongst students with more and more undergraduate courses offering an optional “sandwich” year spent working in an industry, giving students vital experience that can help set them apart in the jobs market. Placement years differ to traditional short-term internships in that the extended duration allows students to take up a role within a business that carries real responsibility.

If you’re thinking of doing a placement, already applying or just unsure then this is just for you. I had some extended time with Noah, and he gave some great insight as to why a placement year is so valuable as well as some key takeaways from his time with 2 Circles:

1) Put theory into practice

Do you ever sit in lectures and wonder when am I going to use this? Well, undertaking a placement provides you with the perfect opportunity to take what you’ve learnt in the lecture theatre into the real world as Noah experienced himself: “Learning theory is always good but getting that first-hand experience of how that knowledge is applied was amazing. I got to see how different theories in marketing were used and how it helped deliver a brand message”. Doing a placement year will give you a great opportunity to impress your new colleagues and apply what you have learnt.

2) Getting a taste of the real working world

Undertaking a placement year means you will be given real responsibility along with opportunities that will be stimulating and take you out of your comfort zone. Noah saw his experience with Circles as a chance to see how everything came together within the marketing team. “Working in the marketing team I got to see the work everyone in the department carried out and how it all came together to deliver the brand message of 2 Circles, and this is the kind of thing I might not have been able to see in larger organisations”

This can be a huge benefit for students as they can see where their strengths lie and which areas they might want to specialise in post university.

3) Life at 2 Circles

2 Circles Communications offer placements in several departments to undergraduate students. Talking to Noah he spoke about the culture within the company that really helped him to settle into his role and feel welcomed. “The people here are really supportive and friendly, and I felt that from my first interview. They always encouraged me to ask them questions if I needed any help during my first few months and everyone really takes an interest in your own personal development during your time with them”.

4) Working in Telecoms.

Working in any industry as a placement student can be exciting. If you’re someone who enjoys problem solving, then working at 2 Circles could be the place for you as Noah found out. “I liked solving problems. Sometimes when I’m working on a document for our website it can be tricky to get across the right message. Being able to get around challenges like that I found really satisfying”.

If you’d like to find out more about work placements at 2 Circles, please email a copy of your CV to recruitment@2circles.com.

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My placement so far: Coca-Cola Enterprises

This post was written by Oliver, currently on placement at Coca-Cola Enterprises


Although it is early days, I think it is fair to say on 8th July 2019, my life transformed as a new chapter in the life of a BSc Accounting and Finance student began.

This was the day that I took on the role of a procurement intern at Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) for my year in industry, located in Uxbridge. First things first, would this blog really be a Coca-Cola blog without a Coca-Cola related pun? Or maybe I’m just not Spritely enough to come up with one. Sorry, I couldn’t resist! On a serious note to placement students who will be submitting applications this upcoming year, the process will be tough. You may be unsuccessful with some applications, however, do not let that be a reason to give up. This year has potential to be the best year of your life and I’m going to tell you why.

A bit about my job role at CCEP so far: my main focus during this placement will be to support some of the procurement focused pre-work alongside SAP Ariba to implement a new system to improve the efficiency of the supply chain process and to reduce the costs incurred by the procurement department across all European partners. This includes contract review and conversion, buying channel analysis, commodity code to GL Mapping and supporting the testing and development of training. Not sure what that means? I wasn’t either before I started, but with the support of my colleagues here, I’m learning quickly. I will initially work closely with the internal project team, IBM, and Ariba to develop my understanding of the capabilities of the tools we are deploying.

Coca-Cola Enterprises Brussels

The project team I am a part of is relatively small and involves colleagues from across their various European partners.  Much to my surprise, particularly with the importance of technology to a multi-national corporation like CCEP, there is a vast amount of travel involved to frequently meet with the “procurement champions” representing their nation as part of the deployment of this system.  This role is allowing me to explore different regions and alternative cultures from a professional, as well as personal perspective.  In my first three weeks of work, I have already ventured to Brussels, Belgium and Rotterdam, the Netherlands.  Both provided me with incredible experiences and I look forward to exploring other offices in various locations such as Sofia, Frankfurt and Prague in the next few months.  The luxury travel, executive hotel rooms and unlimited Coca-Cola owned drinks is an alien concept for me, but I can confidently say that it is a pleasant change from having to wear seven layers in my university bedroom to keep utility bills at a minimum!

Rotterdam Sunset

Rotterdam Sunset

I hope whoever finds the time to read this has enjoyed the insight into my Coca-Cola experience thus far.  To conclude my debut blog: sipping on a complimentary Peroni on my bedroom balcony in Brussels, and watching the sunset whilst cycling the lowlands of Rotterdam has helped me realise that corporate life may be for me.

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