Author Archive | Elizabeth Barton

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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Placement Life at Oracle: The largest company you’ve never heard of – Part 4

This is the final blog from my time here at Oracle, and it seems so very odd. In only a few days I will leave Oracle after finishing a 12 month internship in the Hospitality Marketing division. This has truly been one of the most if not the most memorable year of my life, the amount of growth I have seen in myself and that others have seen in me has been remarkable, what I’ve learned at Oracle has set me up for the rest of my professional career and personal life.

Let’s start from the beginning, joining Oracle as a younger, more naïve and an under experienced student I was thrown into one of the largest companies in the world. After all my compulsory training was complete I was quickly put to work, I was given important responsibilities straight from the get go and was constantly told I would always be a valuable member of our global team. The first few months of my internship saw me finding my feet pretty quickly: Learning people’s names, discovering how to use new software and figuring out how to compose the right email, these where just a few of the many daily activates I had to undertake. The business world was an alien environment to me and every move I made was new. Before I knew it I was co-manager of an inbound lead inbox which to this day has accounted for nearly over 3 million USD in revenue, I was sitting in on sales meetings, organising trade shows, raising invoices, booking rooms across the globe, writing blogs, generating industry reports, taking part in a professional photoshoots all whist managing an Executive box at the Emirates stadium. Slowly but surely I became a familiar face in the office and I was soon a renowned employee, being greeted with “Good Morning Olly” whenever I arrived at work. I became more comfortable with my role and my confidence was growing each day throughout my whole placement, I kept taking on more and more responsibility ensuring I was always busy and always had a challenge ahead of me.

Throughout the year I met the most incredible people, I’ve been to global summits, tradeshows, Italy, Portugal, corporate social responsibility events and so many other places and I’m always enthralled by the people I met, not once did I have a negative interaction with either an Oracle employee or customer. I have met VP’s, directors, managers, interns, executive assistance, engineers, catering staff, receptionists, sales reps, consultants and so many others its almost hard to keep track,  it’s definitely the thing I’m going to miss the most about my time at Oracle, and its going to be hard to leave for exactly that reason. I will miss the banter in the office and I will miss living with my current Oracle intern housemates, no doubt I will keep in contact with many people through the powers of social media however I’ve know this lifestyle for a whole year and it’s going to be hard to shake off that routine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Similarly to many other placement students my internship had its ups and downs, there were definitely moments where my resolve and determination was tested, I was pushed to limits that I never thought I had and came out of it a stronger more experienced person. Thankfully, I’ve had significantly more ‘ups’ than ‘downs’, some of my favourite memories were from time in Lisbon, not only was I doing what I loved by making graphics and helping the video crew but I was also meeting my global team members for the first time, sharing drinks and stories, getting to know them on a personal level. The relationships I built on that trip will definitely last even when I’ve left Oracle! Another big highlight for me was my most recent achievement, my 54 Cateran Yomp in the Scottish wilderness. A challenge that pushed me to my limits both mentally and physically, it showed the real power and importance of teamwork and is by far one of my greatest achievements. There are some honourable mentions of course: Arsenal vs Man City premier league opener, going to Rimini in Italy, professional photoshoots, GBU global summit, all our team meals, filming Oracle Open World, 45 mile Palace to Palace bike ride for the Prince’s Trust but the two I highlighted are definitely standouts for me. I also won an Oracle intern award for outstanding commitment to customer client/service, which was a great way to top off the year.

As I’m writing this I’m just about to have lunch with the new interns, who will shortly become our successors and it’s really starting to sink in that I’m leaving. This placement has given me so much perspective, it has taught me what I don’t want to do as much as it has taught me what a do want to do with my career, it has taught me how to be more confident and it has taught me to not set limits on myself and what I’m capable of. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who I have worked with at Oracle and to each person that has spent time mentoring me, it’s been a hell of a year, and I definitely won’t ever forget it.

Written by BSc Marketing student Olly

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Placement Life at Oracle: The largest company you’ve never heard of – Part 3

This Blog post was written by BSc Marketing student Olly

 

It’s currently April as I’m writing this blog, 9 months into my placement with only 3 months left of my time at Oracle. By now I hope most of you have either secured your placement or are still in the process of getting a placement – If you are yet to secure your year in industry, keep going, don’t stop sending those applications and keep your options open.

These past 9 months seemed to have flown by; it feels like only last week I was receiving my handover documents… And now I’m the one preparing them! With each of these blogs I am always surprised as to what I have done since the previous blog I wrote, and this time is no different. I continue to play my part in my global Marketing team with my daily jobs: Managing an inbound lead email account, filling out the regular spreadsheets, sending all my usual emails and managing the Arsenal executive box. However, embracing the admin responsibilities of my job role has given me so many fantastic opportunities to get involved in projects that I never thought I would. Since Christmas I have really found my creative feet and developed knowledge of corporate branding – I undertook the task of teaching myself how to use the many Adobe Apps: Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign and Premier Pro. With these new pieces of software I have been able to support the team in so many different ways, learning on the job whilst fulfilling a dormant passion of mine, design. I want to make my own stamp on my time here as an intern and to make myself an invaluable resource to my team or whoever I am helping – Whether that be from my direct marketing team, a different line of business or someone sitting next to me in the office. In addition to this, I have attempted to expand my creative abilities to photography and videography; I was given the opportunity to go to one of Oracle’s biggest events called Oracle Open World, held in London (Blog found here).  A digital communications intern and myself travelled to the event with a goal of filming and producing a short recap video of the event, we put our creative spin on the video and was received incredibly well by so many people – Multiple Oracle sales reps used it to post on their personal LinkedIn, It was shared on at least 3 internal newsletters and we were even contacted for it to be used as promotional material for the next two Oracle Open World Events in Dubai and Singapore – Spreading further and getting more views than we ever imagined.

Incredibly, I flew to Lisbon in Portugal at the end of March for our Oracle Hospitality Connect event – With primary tasks of photography and videography whilst also helping with social media and generally being an extra hand where needed.  In the build up to the event I used my new found graphic skills to produce physical assets that was seen and used by over 150 attendees. It’s fairly rare to hear of a placement student going abroad once, let alone twice! Before my internship began I never thought I would be jetting around Europe, I truly have become an international marketer. One thing that I was deeply interested in since I arrived at Oracle was the whole intern recruitment process, since Oracle Hospitality have a great commitment to my personal development myself and my partnering intern where given the responsibility to go through over 100 CV applications to our internship role. We went through all the CV’s, scoring them individually; the shortlisted candidates where given mini-interviews to gauge their personality & demeanour. After a few more steps we had the assessment centre with 9 candidates, all with great potential – A long and fun day of assessments and activities led us to the final selection process. One thing that I definitely won’t forget from this placement year is how as interns we were still treated as truly equals, even in this critical scenario, we were discussing with managers and executives who valued and appreciated our opinions – Ultimately, we found some great successors for next year! I have now finished my individual reflective report, covering my whole year at Oracle, how it has affected me, what relevance it has had to my degree and how far I have come. This report is far from a chore and is something that I enjoyed writing – Not only does it get me back in the swing of how to write University work but it also allows me critically reflect on all the things that I have done and how my skills have developed over this year.

With 3 months left, time really is ticking. This concludes my penultimate blog showing everyone what I’ve been up to and given even more of an insight into placement life, specifically here are Oracle. Let’s see what things I accomplish in my remaining months, taking every opportunity and learning more each day.

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Placement Life at Sainsbury’s Argos

 

 

 

I had featured in the first placement newsletter with a brief update on how I am getting on in my first week and now 8 months later, I have so much more to share with you! It has been an amazing experience so far and sadly coming up to the end of my placement.

So much has happened in the last 7 months and I will struggle to squeeze it all into this blog. My knowledge of both Argos Care and Argos Card has increased hugely since I have started here. As I work closely with both products, I can understand the product but also market to the right target audience through various channels both online and offline. I have been able to develop various skills during my time in the business which I can use both in my professional and personal life; the experience I have had so far is phenomenal!

So, what have I been up to so far? In the last couple of months, I have been super busy getting various creatives for Argos Care and Argos Card finalised for the catalogue launch within Argos. Each year, there are 2 key dates that fall at the end of Jan and end of July; this is the busiest periods for the company as we are getting everything ready for the launch of the new catalogue. I have been able to manage the Argos Card leaflet (that is in-store near the tills – go check it out!) from start to end which included getting the creative ideas in mind, getting the creative done, getting sign off from the key stakeholders etc. As I was involved in the previous Argos Card leaflet (however, I was pretty new to the business), it is amazing to see the changes that the leaflet has gone through. I have been working closely with agencies and other stakeholders within the team to negotiate timings and sign offs to ensure that deadlines are being met. I have also had the opportunity to be highly involved with creatives for the new branding of care, now ‘Argos Care’. This included the leaflets that are in-store, email banners being created, DM banners for Argos Care and the online pages. I was very pleased to see all the hard work being paid off and creatives are now both online and in-stores! I managed through the whole Argos Care pages on the ROI online Argos website which was a great achievement for myself. I have developed many skills during the last couple of months and am happy with all the outcome. I have enjoyed travelling around to visit key stakeholders and get to know them more.

There is much more that I have been involved in and yet to do but overall, I am having a great time in Sainsbury’s Argos. I am very lucky to have the support that I receive from my team and the company as they are always striving to get the best out of my placement! There are a couple of skills that I am hoping to develop in the last few months of my time here however, I am not hesitant to achieve these with the facilities that I have available. As we are already a couple of months into the new year, I understand that 2nd year students are already in the process of applying for placements, writing CV’s, cover letters and applications. Being a placement student myself, my best advice for you guys would be:

  • Choose a role you will enjoy – Ensure that you are reading the roles and thinking whether the role is for you. You are going to apply for many jobs however, don’t apply for the sake of it, make sure you are choosing a placement role that you will enjoy!
  • Be yourself – Companies that you will be applying for will receive hundreds of applications – best advice is to be yourself and explain why you want the role, why do you fit the job description? Why are you different to others? The more you talk about yourself and how you fit into the role, the more companies would find an interest in you.
  • Don’t stress! – The most important advice I can give you, don’t stress about getting a placement! I worried endlessly about not getting a placement, but everyone is different! You will get rejected from first, second or third process of applications but it happens, just keep trying. I felt upset that I was getting rejected but I never gave up. I received my job offer in May so if your friends have secured one and you haven’t, don’t worry! Your time will come, just keep searching for the right role for you!

Written by Ashma Ali

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Placement Life at Oracle: The largest company you’ve never heard of – Part 2

So, I’m nearly 6 months deep into my placement year here at Oracle and what a whirlwind it has been.

In my last blog I was coming to the end of the 2nd month of my 12 month placement, I was a bright eyed, bushy tailed and enthusiastic marketing intern… and I still am! So much has happened in the last 4-5 months that I struggle to wrap my head around it all thinking about it now. My knowledge of the Hospitality industry has increased 10 fold and the experiences I have gained are proving to be invaluable in both my professional and personal life. I never knew how widespread the hospitality industry could be and how many aspects of people’s lives it affects, understanding the variety of different processes of a huge corporate company and learning so many different skills along the way.

What have I been up to? In the last few months I have been incredibly busy, working as part of a well-oiled machine doing my part and contributing wherever I can. I have been successfully supporting my global team in so many different ways: Helping organise and facilitate tradeshows in EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa), Independent Hotel Show in London, Equiphotel in Paris and even had the incredible opportunity to fly out to Rimini in Italy, supporting the Italian sales team run the tradeshow TTG. I have been working closely with my global marketing team and our many sales teams, generating leads through marketing campaigns that I am running – Creating various graphics, blogs and social media posts – all with the aim to strategically market some of our many assets and produce content that will live on even when my time at Oracle comes to an end. I’m even gaining experience in the recruitment process, sending emails to many UK Universities advertising our placement opportunities and beginning to filter out the best candidates to fit our global team and work culture here at Oracle. As well as this I am continuing to manage the Arsenal FC corporate box, I was even lucky enough to go to the Premier League season opener vs Manchester City! Oh yeah, I have also continued with my self-proclaimed modelling career by taking part in a professional product photoshoot, staring in a project surrounding Oracle Food & Beverage hardware and software.

There is so much more that I have done and so much yet to do, I’ve been getting involved in some of the many events that Oracle hold throughout the year. I have taken part in the annual ‘Palace to Palace’ 45 mile bike ride, where Oracle assembled a team to raise money for The Prince’s Trust, I personally raised £190 and the whole Oracle team raised a whopping £22,046! In the remainder of the next 6 months I plan to take part in the Tough Mudder – A hard-core 10-12 mile obstacle race – and The Cateran Yomp, a 54 mile walk in 24 hours across the rugged terrain of the Scottish wilderness, raising money for the Help for Heroes charity organisation. It’s getting involved in events like these that help improve my skill set and offers a great opportunity to network with other Oracle employees from different lines of business.

This coming Christmas period represents my 6 month mark as a placement student here at Oracle and as I have just mentioned there has been so much to learn. It is also that time of the year where 2nd year students are currently in the process of writing CV’s, cover letters and submitting applications , deciding what company you want to work for and in what way you want to start your career. From my personal experience the advice I would give anyone applying for placements is simple:

  • Know the company – Research the company you are applying to, go through their website, news articles and press releases to learn as much as you can. The knowledge you gain from dedicating just an hour to research will help you immensely in the whole recruitment process.

 

  • Stand out – Companies receive hundreds upon hundreds of applications each year for just a select few roles and only the applications that differentiate themselves from everyone else will be shortlisted. Try to think about what would make you stand out, what have you done that is exciting? Have you done something unique? Where have you demonstrated passion for the role? These are the questions you should be thinking about when going through the application process.

 

  • Be yourself – Whether you’re writing a cover letter, speaking in a telephone interview or taking part in an assessment centre, be yourself. Employers are able to see whether you are acting natural or behaving in a way that isn’t you, letting yourself and your personality shine through makes all the difference and the employers will definitely notice that.

Every company will be looking for different types of people to fit their different roles, don’t be disheartened if you receive your first, second or third rejection and you feel that things aren’t going your way. I even got rejected from three assessment centres before I secured my role at Oracle! Hopefully I have given a better insight into my job role here at Oracle Hospitality and offered some useful advice for placement applicants. Good Luck!

Written by Olly Sergeant

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