I can definitely say I have made friends for life!
Name: Caitlin Mahoney
Course: BSc Psychology and Business
Placement Position: Sales Development Representative
Location: SAP SuccessFactors, London, UK
Leaving the comforts of uni life to enter the world of work can be a daunting experience but it is one of the most rewarding experiences you will have.
When applying for placements, I was set on Marketing and after countless rejections, I finally was offered a position with an extremely well-known company. However, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and accept another position doing sales at the third biggest independent software company in the world… which no one has ever heard of. It was one of the hardest but most rewarding decisions I have ever made.
One thing I wish I knew before I started is how rewarding it is to get stuck into absolutely everything you get offered. I feel as though the majority of people at first are tentative to put themselves forward and get involved. However, getting involved is the best way to make your placement worthwhile. If someone gives you an opportunity, take it, don’t be scared because you don’t know what you’re doing. People know that as an intern you won’t have the same level of knowledge as them and they’re willing to support you and help you get the best out of your year. And most importantly, add everyone you meet, speak to or interactive with on LinkedIn – it will be your best friend in the future.
I started off commuting: driving an hour or so each way every day for about three weeks before I realised I was missing out on both opportunities and sleep: something you will learn to cherish. Even after two years living away at uni, moving was still daunting as it was to a new area with a new friend. However, it has opened me up to so much more and I would definitely say that you should make the most of the area you’re in. I’m living the closest I ever have to London and with a steady cash flow into my bank account, I am doing everything I can to experience London in its fullest.
My first day was such a daunting experience, however within hours I felt like I had known some of the interns forever. The main thing to remember is that everyone is in the same position as you and are all there for the same reason. I have no completed almost three months of my placement and I can definitely say I have made friends for life.
At SAP, there are around 80 interns and although we are all there for work, we make sure we have the best social times too. We make sure to arrange a social every Thursday in London to take a break from work and have fun. We also arrange out of work things from nights out to day trips to Thorpe Park and Notting Hill Carnival. Creating a solid social life with those that you work with is definitely something I would recommend as you really get to know people in a more relaxed environment.
Every intern gets the opportunity to get involved in other parts of the business, with the chance to complete 30% of their placement in a different job role. I chose to do my 30% in Marketing and am currently working with the EMEA North Digital Marketing team where I have already had the chance to work on multiple projects. I have contributed to the social media schedules for LinkedIn and Facebook for Belgium and Luxembourg as well as website tracking for the company’s UKI pages. Getting the chance to participate in different places in the business really helps give you an overview of both how the company works and what you may or may not want to do after you graduate.
One of the main reasons I chose SAP was because of the dedication to diversity, inclusion and corporate responsibility. There are so many different opportunities to get involved with events such as the Business Women’s Network and Autism At Work as well as the CSR month in October where we get the opportunity to give back and volunteer. I also took part in a CSR day at the Ealing Soup Kitchen which was so rewarding to learn about people’s stories both from the other volunteers and the homeless themselves.
Finding a placement can be stressful but as long as you go with your gut when choosing a placement and throw yourself into it once you find one you will have the best year