We spoke to former intern, Nigel Warren, about the Year in Industry he spent at Boots in their Marketing department. Nigel explained how important he found the Marketing Internship in shaping his skills and his direction in Marketing and how the experience gave him the confidence to pursue a career in the field.
Tell us a little bit about your internship, what were the main tasks you were trusted with?
NW: I worked in in-store Marketing, which for a retailer is very important. I had lots of different tasks which I had to deal with. I had to talk to the buyers quite a lot, the buying category teams and some of the different Marketing teams to make sure we're delivering an integrated campaign whether it was in store, in the press or digitally.
There was a lot of project management. I had to speak to advertising agencies every day. So our creative agency would come up with concepts for what we needed to provide for an in-store environment. Then we would work with them to get the creative to a point where all the management are happy with it.
We had to make sure that what we were delivering "the customer experience" when they went online or on the app as well.
Did you find that was difficult to orchestrate between the departments?
NW: There were challenges there. Obviously different people have got their own expertise and we all worked with different agencies. I would speak to the Boots digital contact and they would have to speak to their agency, to make sure what they were delivering was similar to what we were delivering.
What was the most beneficial thing you took away with you?
NW: I'd say project management and stakeholder management. If we were facing any challenges it'd be about working with people to see how we'd solve them and making sure everyone was aware. I definitely felt a lot more organised since I've come back. I feel better about my time management.
What was the biggest difficulty you faced during your Marketing Internship?
NW: To begin with it took me a few months to understand the role. I joined in September and it was a really busy time in the run up to Christmas so I was thrown in at the deep end. Once I had got to understand the role I really enjoyed it from then.
Did you feel like a valued member of the team?
NW: I did, I was involved with all the away days and staff dos. I also got involved with the Corporate Social Responsibility which was in aid of Macmillan Cancer. I was treated like any other employee.
Do you think the Marketing skills you learnt at Boots would be applicable elsewhere?
NW: From working with the creative agency, even if I go into a different function in the future, it's still working with an agency and as long as their manager is happy with the direction we're going in. If at any time in the future I did want to move on I would have learnt the skills that are transferable.
Do you have any preparation tips for students and graduates looking to do a Marketing Internship?
NW: Have an open mind, I wasn't sure whether I was going into brand or buying. Keep an open mind and look forward to challenges. Any Marketing related modules would help. Talk about what they learnt and what they did, even name some related activities. Things like leadership or project management will help. In the role that I was in leadership was a big thing.
In your view, how important are Internships?
NW: For me it has been really beneficial. It's given me great insight into Marketing and it's made me realise that I want to go into the commercial area. I was offered the job so it was great, but the insight made it completely worth it.