I’ve been through what will most probably be the most formative experience I’ll ever go through, but it wasn’t always easy. Being an international student means living far away from home, and in my case all the way across the world, so here’s to international students who will read this paragraph.
It may seem daunting at the start: for instance I knew that accepting the summer internship offer L’Oréal made me meant I would stay a year in the UK without seeing my parents and being back home, but like they say, you’ve got to risk it to get the biscuit. Nothing in the world should stop you from getting out of your comfort zone and going through these experiences, because they will change your life.
I arrived at L’Oréal on Monday 25 June, ready to join the Vichy team, a French skincare brand under L’Oréal’s Active Cosmetics division. I was greeted by my line manager and the intern I was going to replace before heading upstairs to meet the team I’d be working with throughout the summer. L’Oréal threw me in the deep end from day one. I started by shadowing the old intern for a week and picking up tasks and projects she had been taking care of. That was the moment that proved the greatness of L’Oréal to me, as I was given all the tools I needed to start adding real value to my team.
The tasks and projects that were assigned to me ranged from liaising with the legal and scientific departments, where I was making sure that all information on product packs was factual and aligned with our marketing claims, to setting up weekly competitor reviews on our competitors to differentiate our unique selling points.
I was given the management of an entire shampoo range, for which I secured partnerships with new retailers after a successful pitch, managing to give the range better online and in-store visibility. During this process I was sent across the country to set up and improve some of our relationships with retailers to set the base for when our future ranges came to the market.
I also ran a meeting with the CEO of a big French packaging company, with the aim of reviewing our packaging strategies towards more efficient and eco-friendly practices, as well as taking charge of monitoring the sales figures of our best seller during a promotion period.
All in all, I was given great responsibilities, which seemed unachievable and daunting at the start but the proactive environment I was working in within our offices made it possible. My ten weeks at L’Oréal flew by but I still managed to make a difference within the Vichy team. It was really sad for me to leave everyone, but I promised that I would be back! Until then my main objectives this year range from graduating from my accounting and finance degree with a first, to making a real difference as the president of the finance society.
So here’s to L’Oréal and all the people I’ve met during my time with the group. I am forever grateful for all you’ve taught me, from sales and marketing skills to broadening my knowledge of the cosmetics industry. It helped me improve my interpersonal skills and I now feel like I can tackle any job coming my way.
I wish all readers the best of luck in their careers. ‘If an opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door!’ Remember this quote when you start trying to secure offers. In my case, the door was the Undergraduate of the Year Awards, an experience I really wish every single student to go through. It changed my life and could change yours, so don’t think, apply!