Placements to Postgraduate
Hello, I’m Hoi Kit! I’m from Leicester, UK and I’m currently studying MSc Operations, Project, and Supply Chain Management. I’m a recent graduate of BSc (Hons) Management IPE at Alliance MBS. In 2020/21, I joined L’Oréal UKI as a Supply Chain placement intern and will return as a Management Trainee in January 2024.
Experience on Placement
For 15 months, I completed my work placement at L’Oréal UK and Ireland in Hammersmith, London within the Professional Products Division and Luxe. I was a Customer Supply Chain intern, managing some of our largest e-commerce customers such as Amazon, John Lewis, Feel Unique and Pretty Little Thing.
Placement completely enhanced my university experience. From day-to-day operational responsibilities to extra-curricular opportunities (e.g. strengthening our employer branding and upskilling volunteers with our partnered charity, Look Good Feel Better), no two days were the same.
What does it mean to be an intern at L’Oréal?
Being an intern at an organisation which invests in the future of young people means having full responsibilities from day one. This includes the end-to-end ownership of the order process, managing relationships between the customer and L’Oréal and diagnosing issues along the supply chain and liaising with the customer to establish efficiencies.
Being on placement means you need to be ready to take on opportunities, be flexible, agile, and ready to learn! This mentality will enable any intern to maximise their learnings from the industry. I was quite hesitant initially to reach out to others for support and ask questions. But L’Oréal’s people-centric culture fosters an environment where everyone can reach out to anyone for support and mentoring. It was only from the placement that I experienced the importance of organisational culture in practice!
What are some of your achievements and successes from being an intern?
You can achieve a lot from placement! Discovering your full potential in practice, fostering a supportive network, and enhancing your personal brand are just a few to name when it comes to taking a year in industry. Being in industry enhanced my confidence, demonstrated my capabilities in the workplace and provided opportunities to apply theory into practice from university. Placements are also an opportunity for students to add value to organisations! I also managed goods worth over £4.5 million and contributed to the success of two Amazon Prime Days.
Would you recommend a placement internship?
Absolutely! Any experience is valuable to students in developing their professional skills, building networks, and establishing themselves in industry. I’d highly recommend placements for any student who doesn’t know what they would like to do post-graduation. I speak from personal experience with this as I started my BSc without knowing exactly what areas of business I wanted to go into. Establishing a career in the beauty and FMCG industry was accidental, and so too is my choice to go into Supply Chain Management. Placements (and other internships) can help you decide your future career path and provide insights into a vast array of future opportunities and pathways.
What skills are you taking with you back to your PG course?
Being able to have the confidence to network and collaborate with others has been proven to be invaluable as a postgraduate. At master’s level, you have to opportunity to meet people from a vast array of fields and experiences. Being able to relate and share your own experiences can be a gateway to networking and strengthening your personal brand.
Additionally, the practical experiences have been applicable to my master’s course too. Being able to relate when a lecturer mentions SAP (a programme for enterprise resource planning) from industrial experience enhances the theoretical learnings at university.
What are some tips you would advise for those looking to find a placement?
Often students only consider the companies they want to go for a disregard the organisations which also offer placements based on first impressions. It’s worth applying to those firms and industries for the experience! Being in beauty has opened pathways into luxury goods, FMCG and healthcare which I didn’t expect. Broaden your search and keep your options open too.
Leverage your network – a very valuable part of job searching! The chances are, if you’re applying for an organisation, there are people around you either on your programme or know others that have applied there too. Utilise your network and LinkedIn to support your application journey. Most of us will be happy to help – I definitely would!
Written by Hoi Kit