Charlotte Eriksen

Marketing Intern, L’Oréal

BSc International Business and Marketing 2017

Denmark

1.Why did you choose to study at Leeds?
I chose to study at Leeds because the university had a prestigious business programme. I also choose Leeds because of the amazing Union, the beautiful campus, and the proximity of the campus to the city centre.

2.Tell us about your undergraduate course – why did you choose this and what do you enjoy most about it?
I choose International Business & Marketing because it had an international focus that aligned well with my background, interests, and strengths. I’m from Denmark and I grew up in China, so I am interested in an international career and degree. I chose to study it with marketing as I am creative and enjoy understanding consumers. 

3.What were your roles and responsibilities on your year in industry?
My role at L’Oréal was Marketing Intern for La Roche-Posay. My responsibilities included managing the Cleansing and Hydration franchises (Hydraphase & Hydreane), and being responsible for starting the development of a Baby Category. Additionally, I managed and supported key operational tasks within the marketing team, including sampling campaign management, Independent Pharmacies cycle material management, medical materials management, social scheduling support, and supporting the product managers on their franchises and campaigns where necessary. My role and responsibilities changed throughout the year, depending on the business needs, team structure, and marketing priorities.  

4.What were your biggest achievements during the placement?
Some of biggest achievements during my placement include being the only Intern to have been nominated for our divisional achievement award which recognises innovation, passion, and entrepreneurship. I was nominated for my initiative, leadership, and execution in creating an in-house video to support the launch of a new product. Some other big achievements included developing strategies for two of the franchises I was managing, and using these strategy pieces to successfully launch two new products.

5.What skills did you develop on placement?
During my placement I developed a wide variety of skills, including interpersonal skills, professionalism, and initiative. I developed interpersonal skills such as team-working, communication, and leadership skills through the collaborative efforts I coordinated to achieve results on projects. For example, I led a project to create a social video to support a new product launch, through team work with my colleagues and media agencies. I also worked closely on communication material such as sales brochures for the pharmacy team, and educational materials for the medical team, which developed my written and presentation skills. I developed professionalism in terms of confidence and self-awareness. Through the challenging environment of a large organisation where your colleagues are often also your managers, confidence is required in a different form than it is at university, and you need to be extremely confident in presenting your ideas and work to effectively communicate them. Hence, confidence skills are challenged as thus significantly developed.

Additionally, an invaluable lesson I learnt on my placement year was the increased self-awareness I developed in terms of career ambitions, effective working styles, and strengths and weaknesses. The various feedback opportunities that were in place at L’Oréal were extremely beneficial as it provided new perspectives on my performance, and also encouraged more self-reflection before meetings as a form of preparation. My initiative skills developed significantly through being responsible and accountable for my own projects, ideas, and implementation of these. Overall, I developed many more invaluable skills that will continue to develop throughout my future university and professional career. 

6.What support did you receive from the Business School / University before and during your placement?
Before my placement I received support from the careers centre in the form of application help, such as reviewing my CV and providing feedback, and providing opportunities to attend workshops with employers, such as L’Oréal. During my placement year I received a lot of support from my placement tutor, both through written feedback on monthly journals I completed, and through a meeting with her when she visited L’Oréal. It was great to have a very caring tutor who was invested and interested in your placement and development during the year. 

7.Is there any prospect of returning to your placement employer after you graduate?
L’Oréal does offer a graduate scheme which interns can apply for during their placement year. However, I choose not to pursue the scheme as I am interested in a career in another industry. 

8.How has the year in industry influenced your career aspirations?
It has provided me with real insight into marketing and the cosmetics industry. Following my year in industry I know I would like to pursue a career in another industry, possibly one with some social focus, and I am also interested in corporate social responsibility 

9.Would you recommend taking a year in industry to someone else?
Yes, I would highly recommend taking a year in industry. It is a great way to gain work experience and learn about industries and roles which you are interested in. It helps provide practical examples to theories you are studying, and enables you to be more critical when you are back at university. 

10.Do you have any noteworthy achievements from your time at Leeds that you can tell us about? E.g. prizes, highest scores etc.
I have been a recipient of the UK/EU Excellence Scholarship throughout all my years at Leeds University. The scholarship is merit-based and awarded upon applying to LUBS. I was also ranked 1st in my cohort throughout my 1st and 2nd year studying International Business and Marketing. 

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