(by Jennifer Mbunga)
Earlier this month I went on another exciting adventure. I had the opportunity to get insights into agency work in regards to employer branding. This is an area of HR that I am really interested in since it plays a significant role in talent management (the field I believe I want to work in after graduation).
For a week, I travelled into the heart of London, which was a little adventure in itself as I was commuting to and from Bank station in the center of London. Similar to New York’s Wall Street, there are loads of banks as the name indicates and was originally named after the Bank of England. The station itself has been voted “London’s least favorite station” by BBC.co.uk due to the fact it gets extremely crowded.
Despite this, I loved traveling into the city every day as the station is only a few minutes away from a nice new shopping mall with lots of restaurants and sights like St. Paul’s Cathedral – which I discovered on my first day when I got lost on the way to work.
During my stay at the media agency Hodes I learned:
- What it is like to work at a startup company. Event management skills always come in handy. I was charged with getting in touch with top universities to organize an event for a law firm client.
- Media agencies do way more than just nice/weird looking ads. I learned about the strategic side of employer branding. An employer brand boils down to a company’s reputation that reflects in every single interaction with external and internal stakeholders (business word for employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders, etc.). Blogging is one way for companies to improve and/or enhance their brand’s reach. It also drives social engagement and is an excellent recruitment tool. Furthermore, sometimes doctors write content.
- Media agencies do make interesting creative stuff. You can make a paper wallet out of a Starbucks bag. #lifehack
I was also introduced to a social tradition called “Jolly Trolley”. Every week one employee gets 25 pounds to buy snacks and food to share. Of course, I had the honor to do so when I was there. As you can see from these pictures, Jolly Trolley is best enjoyed on the rooftop on a sunny day!
About the UK/London in general:
- Law firms really do have pretty amazing office spaces. We went on a client meeting at Taylor Wessing (Enterprise’s law firm) and I felt like I was in the TV series “Suits”. High-rises enjoy a great view over the city.
- I find British people to be very polite and proper. (Not to stereotype anyone, it has just been my personal experience.) They remind me of southern Americans. (Again, my personal experience) Here’s why: Some might say “God bless you” when you do something nice for them and, similarly to the U.S., small talk is very much welcome and expected.
- Quirky language differences: Other things I have come to found out are that “flapjacks” in the UK are not pancakes but yummy oat bars. “Pudding” can be cheesecake as it is used synonymously with dessert and a “wet blanket” is a hater.
Challenges overcome – lessons learned
Half way through my internship, I have become more confident in my abilities to deliver quality work and no longer suffer from “Imposter Syndrome” as I did in the beginning. (It’s when you feel like you didn’t earn your place and are constantly afraid of being exposed when in reality you are rightfully where you are and can totally do the job).
Also being in a different cultural environment and working with a team that did not exist until recently has taught me to embrace change and see things from a different (positive) perspective. Working at Enterprise has helped me be less afraid of taking risks by taking ownership of things and I appreciate being able to realize my projects as I envision them. I like being more entrepreneurial and learning new things through trial and error.