For my first year work experience placement I was fortunate enough to have contacts at a successful media agency in St. John’s Square.
I approached the CEO directly in letter form, who later contacted me via email: thanking and inviting me to join the Initiative team for a week in February. It was additionally useful to practise my formal writing skills and further gain experience with formal letter formatting.
Naturally, first day nerves were present on arrival however I was welcomed and accepted very quickly into the team. I learned how imperative it is to be able to respond well to other people as the office was very much team reliant. If one member felt at unease or unhappy then the entire operation may be in jeopardy. I will absolutely take this as a lesson for general life and also in my future career.
I learned about the way the agency works both independently, with high profile clients, and in conjunction with the others in the building. Again going back to this idea of teamwork, the organisations flowed because of effective communication. Everyone kept one another up to date on even the most minute change which in the long run I think is what makes the agencies so effective.
The expectations were laid out formally and I was set off on my first task. Writing consumer profiles for Lego was not something that I’d probably ever thought I’d be doing, let alone at my first unpaid internship. For whatever reason I’d imagined that I’d be perhaps used for running errands or making tea and coffee so was more than pleasantly surprised at this introduction to office life. The information was provided and having done a similar activity in GCSE business, ironically I used my initiative and prior knowledge to crack on independently. As the day came to a close I reported back to my supervisor Mirealla who said my work was ideal and could then be used in future meetings. For me, it’s the feeling of achievement and productivity that drives my enthusiasm to learn. After the first day I definitely felt that buzz and was even more excited to return the following day.
As if I thought that it couldn’t get better, the second day began with breakfast in a meeting hosted by Gumtree representatives. They had approached Initiative with the intention of discussing future advertising campaigns with some of the agencies big name clients, so it was really eye opening for me to witness first hand the discussions which have to take place to put wheels into motion. One thing that surprised me was the capital surrounding media and advertising. Although I wont discuss figures, I had absolutely no awareness to the potential budgets of global organisations and now truly understand how essential attention to detail is when dealing with finances for successful clientele.
Throughout the week I made many new contacts, some of which I remain up to date with through Instagram. I’ve significantly improved my digital skills in PowerPoint, Excel, google tools and was trusted enough to have access to Neilsen for research and analysis tasks. An overview of the jobs I was challenged with include research, data analysis, putting together presentations, writing up consumer profiles, liaising between groups in the office and being involved with meetings and group discussions – potentially all things I may be presented with in my career.
At first I had very little idea as to what a media agency was actually involved with for businesses however this opportunity has truly opened my eyes. I have a better understanding of corporate employment structure and an insight as to the expectations of roles so ‘high up the ranks’. I’ve a wider scope for potential career pathways and extensively expanded on my CV/personal statement. Furthermore it was interesting to see how roles outside of fashion actually include largely transferable skills and ideas which could undoubtedly be used in this specialised industry. I’d say its really given me some food for thought and despite being less creative, did still require a visionary perspective and prolific imagination.
I’m proud of myself for having the courage to work in such a professional environment aged only 16 and elated at my new found confidence having independently experienced the buzz of city life, lodging and commuting in London for the duration.