Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Gabriel Raad's placements with EI- Technologies (France) & OVUM (London)

This is a guest blog article from Royal Holloway BSc Management with Marketing (YIB) student, Gabriel Radd, who is spending his placement year doing 2 placements, in EI- Technologies (France) and OVUM (London).

Students are typically advised to undertake a single 12 month placement to maximise their learnings and responsibility within one company. There are occasions though, particularly with overseas placements which are often shorter, when students may complete their Year in Business in 2 different companies. We are delighted to hear how well Gabriel is getting on with his 2 different placements.

Gabriel writes: "Prior to this 3 month internship, I have done two summer internships of around a month each. Although relatively rewarding, I was not able to fully immerse myself within the organizational culture and to actually fully understand exactly what I was doing and why I did it. However, the YIB 3-month internship at EI-Technologies, a French IT consulting firm, allowed me to properly immerse myself. I learned how to use Salesforce and worked on my first project with ENGIE, a French energy and gas company.

I was placed in a team of 4 and we equally allocated tasks and I was regarded as a junior consultant although I was officially an intern. Things started slow, as I had to learn how a project works and how to competently utilise the weeklong Salesforce training session to my advantage. This internship taught me the importance of listening. Since I did not have a large amount of experience, I had to listen and learn about how organizational culture works and how a project is successfully executed. 

Of course, I made several mistakes before understanding certain things but it is important to be rigorous even if the problem you are faced with does not seem to have a solution. Additionally, I learned that the informal aspect of the firm is more important than I thought. Successfully integrating oneself is important as it allows one to make connections/network and feel comfortable at work. Although I learned a lot while working on the project and visiting the client, speaking to different people in an informal setting proved to be essential. It is very easy to get lost in dry and technical areas, and talking to different people within an informal setting lets you understand organizational culture allowing you to receive a 360 view on why an organisation does what it does.

 When I completed this internship, I moved to London and started another one with OVUM for 6 months. Ovum sells research/data for technology companies and are also specialised in IT consulting. I am in the marketing department and I am glad as it has nothing to do with my previous internship. I think that it is important to vary as much as possible to see what you enjoy/don’t like. I learned that when you get older, it is less appreciated by employers to see someone who constantly switches jobs. The time to experiment is now! Since this internship is longer, I will gradually obtain more responsibilities and OVUM is investing in me to equip me with skills that will allow me to perform well during these 6 months. 

I think that it is very interesting to do two placements in two different countries because it allows you to gain experience in different markets and that looks good on a CV. Additionally, I’ve noticed a huge cultural difference in the workplace between these two internships. They are professionally and socially dissimilar as people have different thought processes and do things quite differently. Personally, one of the most interesting parts of this YIB is to experience different things (professional and informal) and to see how different cultures react, perform and work together in the workplace.

Moreover, I am officially admitting that I have utilised contacts to obtain these internships. Yes, I know, some people will look down on you and tell you that it’s the “easy way out” and I absolutely see where they are coming from. However, using contacts is something that is essential both professionally and socially. If I am lucky enough to have certain contacts that can assist me then why not take advantage of this? Networking and utilising contacts is an essential part in obtaining an internship, and my piece of advice for the YIB application process is to apply to MANY placements, and to not be afraid or embarrassed to utilise every contact that you can think of."

See link to previous blog article about the value of networking: http://yearinbusiness.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/networking-guide.html

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