It all started as I was idly browsing through my university emails and came across the TARGETjobs Undergraduate of the Year Awards email. I had never heard of it before this and almost deleted it but I remembered one of my friends had successfully applied the year before, so I started to research the competition and realised that I may as well apply because you lose nothing and the potential rewards are huge!

My Experience

I was initially stuck on which category to apply for and decided that I needed to stick to my strengths in terms of experience! While the most obvious category was Engineering I had more passion for innovation, business and leadership, which was more clearly applicable to Male Undergraduate of the Year Award category!

I completed three online tests, which I passed successfully, and after responding to further assessment questions and speaking to L’Oréal assessors over the phone, I was invited to the assessment centre at L’Oréal UKI Headquarters.

This was as far as I expected to get but I decided to give it my best shot and make a good impression on the day!

There were 40 of us selected for this phase and I remember sitting with everyone in the lobby nervously introducing myself to others while we waited for the testing to begin. It was a more amicable experience than I’ve had on other assessment centre days, which was a pleasant surprise! I’ve made some great connections and friends from the shortlisted group!

For the first half of the day we sat numerical and attention to detail tests, which were fine coming from my background in engineering! Then we moved on to a case study presentation that we had been asked to prepare.

Just before lunch we moved on to a group exercise where we had to present our ideas on the marketing for a new product range and were told that we’d hear after lunch whether we’d made the benchmark.

At lunch we had the opportunity to meet some of the L’Oréal staff, which was fantastic, and then 18 were selected out of the initial 40, which was an extremely nerve-wracking moment!

The final test was an hour-long final interview with a senior executive from a division relative to where you’d indicated interest! Interviews are where my strengths lie but I was just nervous about the competition as only 10 were shortlisted as finalists!

The Awards

I found out I had been successful in being shortlisted for the final when I was flying to South Africa on holiday and had to fly back a couple days early to make the ceremony!

The awards were set in Canary Wharf, London, and were hosted by a huge hero of mine, Rachel Riley! The day was incredible, and we cheered on as the winners were announced!

Even though I wasn’t the winner of my category I met some incredible people that day including Paul Gilliam, Managing Director of HR for L’Oréal, and even got the chance to talk with Rachel about the importance of challenging STEM barriers for women, which is particularly relevant in engineering!

It was such an amazing afternoon and I was super grateful to have been given the opportunity by TARGETjobs and to be selected by L’Oréal!

My experience at L’Oréal

This was an amazing experience to have 10 weeks at one of the UK’s best employers and an industry leader within the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods sector!

I worked within the Business Development Team where I was working with data analysis and trend prediction, which formulated our strategy in terms of brand and customer positioning! I was lucky enough to have a super supportive manager and a team of supportive professionals to work with and this aided my development and business acumen greatly!

I successfully applied for L’Oréal’s Talent Track, which is a fast track stream to an entry level job and I hope to work for them in the future!

Advice for potential applicants

First off give it a go as you never know, but also choose a category that reflects your strengths and experience even if you don’t see yourself as having the right background to apply!