What a year. When the idea sprung to me to write a blog about my experience as a Marketing Intern over the last year, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity for self-reflection. To kind of close this chapter of my life. But to be honest, it’s hard to know where to start. How has it already been 12 months? I refuse to believe time has flown that quickly.
If someone was to ask me to describe my experience in 3 words (which is probably a task I’ll have to do at some point on arrival back at uni), as cliché as it sounds, I would have to pick fulfilling, eye-opening and rewarding. But that’s boring and I know no one wants to hear about that, but for those of you that like that sort of thing. There. I’ve said it.
It’s hard to think back to my expectations prior to starting my placement. To be honest I don’t think any amount of studying can prepare you for having a full-time job for the first time. I was fortunate enough to be thrown in at the deep end at REG Technologies, a fast growth software business operating in the global insurance markets, and to be given as many opportunities and responsibilities as possible for self-development. I guess you could say I don’t like being bored, and well one’s thing for sure, I have never had a boring or quiet day at REG so far!
No, this isn’t a sponsored ad, but I have to use this time to shout out LinkedIn, as without the power of their networking tools, I can hands down say I wouldn’t be where I am today. The power of LinkedIn was profound in the securement of my placement. You can’t get much better than the CEO himself reaching out to you after a mutual connection posted about your placement search (let’s hope he’s not regretting his decision). So, my advice would be to anyone reading this blog now, is to not take LinkedIn for granted. Make those connections, share your professional and personal achievements with your network, comment on someone’s announcement and like, like, like. After managing a LinkedIn account for the past year, I can tell you one thing for sure, the algorithm works in amazing ways, and that one comment or post could be your next job opportunity the following year.
Being interviewed and onboarded virtually was a strange experience, but funnily enough if you’ve stared a job virtually, you become so accustomed to the experience as the ‘norm’, that when you see people in person for the first time (I know shock horror) you feel like you’ve known them forever. I have been fortunate enough throughout my placement year to have experienced the working life in the City of London. A crucial aspect of work experience is to gain a deeper understanding of the real working world, so I am beyond grateful that there have been multiple opportunities to travel into the office (COVID compliant of course) to meet colleagues for meetings as well as social activities. In this new hybrid working arrangement, the flexibility allowed for employees is fantastic, as we adjust to a new working world to suit individual needs.
Perceptibly, the obvious sentiments run true from my placement experience – connections I’ve made, relationships built, skills acquired, and knowledge developed. But the overriding takeaway of my experience is undoubtably self-belief. I think that’s something we all struggle with at some point throughout our lives. Passion for something is one thing, but when you leave education and have to apply your knowledge to a real-life workplace, that’s when you’re really put to the test. Never once did I think I would have been given as much freedom and responsibility as I have during my placement. From content creation, graphic design, social media management, video animation, copy writing, report writing, web design, and ideating campaigns it’s safe to say I’ve thoroughly enjoyed everything this year has thrown at me. Particularly, developing my creative skills throughout the year and gaining confidence using the suite of Adobe programmes, as well as assisting in the creation and implementation of paid ad campaigns. Profoundly, one of the biggest highlights of my placement year, would be the mental health campaign I implemented during October in a bid to raise money for the mental health charity ‘Young Minds’, as with a second lockdown approaching, the pressure on people’s mental health was stronger than ever. Likewise, more recently, throwing myself in at the deep end, hosting REG’s new roundtable series ‘REGTALKS’ was a great opportunity to develop my leadership, interviewing and presentation skills. This was a project I thoroughly enjoyed, so if you haven’t watched the series yet, head over to our YouTube channel now! In short, the key takeaway from my experience is that marketing isn’t all about pushing sales, it’s about people. And that’s how companies thrive. People love people, so having the opportunity to drive the marketing strategy to a more people focus has been so rewarding. I have definitely got everything and more out of this year. My advice for future placement students (if you’ve read this far), would be to believe, all ideas are good ideas, and take that risk. If you don’t put yourself forward and step out of your comfort zone, you’ll only regret it.
And now comes the transition phase, the last month before I technically time travel back to being a student after feeling like I’ve ‘moved on’. I’m not going to say I’m not looking forward to going back to uni, but just when I’ve started my journey up the career ladder, I’ve fallen back down into education. Bittersweet. That’s what you would call the transition phase.
So as my time at REG continues to draw to a close, I must remind myself to take this time to reflect on my accomplishment and growth, as the knowledge and insight I have gained throughout this experience, will undoubtably help me during my final year at university. Thank you to every single one of you all at REG for being part of my journey with me. Working alongside you all and getting to know each and every one of you has been an absolute pleasure. You have all taught me things that I will carry with me throughout all future endeavours. Most importantly, thank you to CEO, Paul Tasker, for taking that risk and providing me with this opportunity. I am truly grateful for you trusting that a university student would be able to help transform REG’s marketing in the midst of a pandemic. I guess we all need to take that leap sometimes. I have had the best time and would encourage anyone to considering doing a placement year, to just do it! I will always remember my time here at REG and treasure all the amazing memories and relationships I have made. After all, they do say time flies when you’re having fun!