It’s surreal to think that after having to adapt to a new culture so quickly I’ll going back home to the States and essentially need to re-adapt. Despite only being here for a rather small amount of time, London has definitely left an impression. I feel like working with my credit union has not only given me crucial insight into the various cultures and work ethics of the global business environment, but also given me a different perspective on financial banking. Working with London Mutual Credit Union has taught me not only to be more aware of different peoples’ lifestyles and privileges, but also in a way how to be more patient. This London experience as a whole has taught me to the value of having patience, awareness, and understanding in a work environment. I feel as though these three qualities not only make adapting to new situations easier but also aid in achieving success. For example, in more exciting news, I was heavily complemented by my boss this week. She said she was very impressed by my work ethic and my ability to get work done correctly in a timely and efficient manner. She was also pleased by how well I handled some situations and how quickly I was able to blend in their quite tight knit work environment. While I’ve been complemented before by my employers, getting these reviews while being aboard and working in a real office environment felt amazing. Thanks for a great summer abroad, Mike.
Archive for England
Fie Summer Internship
Journal #5, August 2nd
MONSOON – Accessorize
In my previous journal entry I was upset with the lack of responsibility I was being given. After talking to my boss about being able to handle more responsibility and telling her that I would like to help with much more she decided to try it out. She even went as far to only allow three interns working each day so each person got an even amount of work and making the most of the internship. Today at work I was given projects that are actually extremely important to the PR and marketing department. First, one of the women in the department, Arianne, asked me to go to the nearest Monsoon store and select clothes for a photo shoot. I was not given exact items to select, but a general idea. I went to the store and selected the items that would work best for Glamour magazine’s photo shoot. I quickly picked out items that I thought the stylist for Glamour would like and returned back to the press office. I was really surprised when she asked me to simply pack it up and send it out. She didn’t even ask to check the items that I picked out. She trusted my choices completely and that felt really rewarding.
Another thing I was asked to do was create a few weekly emails that would be sent out to everyone subscribed to Monsoon’s promotional emails. It is up to me to come up with phrases, outfits and other creative things to get people interested in Monsoon. Making them more willing to click on the link to purchase some of the things I suggested. Being given more responsibility at Monsoon made the last two weeks at my internship a lot better and more enjoyable. I was able to feel as if I was really making the most of it and learning a much as I could.
24 July 2013
I came to London with high hopes for my development as a businesswoman and although it was less glamorous at times then I anticipated, all my hopes were realized if not surpassed. The cross-cultural setting that London provided to my internship at Lerival allowed me to grow as an internationally successful individual and further pursue my goal of working abroad. After this summer as an intern at Lerival, I have walked away with a plethora of new experiences, insights, and opportunities.
In my last week two weeks of my internship, I gained some invaluable experience. I have become much better at Photoshop and I hope to continue building these skills so I can potentially add this to my resume in upcoming months. I have also become much better with InDesign and have learned some very useful shortcuts and tricks from Dominique. I sent out two mailing list flyers about upcoming events where Lerival will be featured and continued to build our social media profiles. What I’ve gathered from Dominique’s responses to my work she has been most excited with the work I’ve been able to accomplish on Pinterest. We are slowing building a following of people and other businesses, which is great for our brand recognition and creating a company image. There were many valuable things I took away from this internship but I think the most significant is that if you don’t tell your employer what you want out of your time at their company, then there is now way their going to be able to meet your expectations.
17 July 2013
This week was a bit different for me because my boss, Dominique, was over in Paris finishing up a large project. This meant that on Monday and Tuesday I had to work from home and on Wednesday I went and delivered some furniture pieces around London. Working from home was definitely a new experience for me. My assignment was to continue building up our brand name on Pinterest and Tumblr since we are starting to amass quite a following and I found it surprisingly difficult to stay focused on working. Since I spend most of my time on the Internet, there are plenty of distractions and I was not in a professional setting so I found myself drifting from my assigned tasks. Until I had to work from home, I did not realize how important a professional setting is to my focus. Even though when I am at my office I am given a different set of tasks then everyone else, I am still part of a communitarianism setting where everyone is working towards the common goal of our company’s success. This communitarianism environment really helps me stay focused so when I became part of an individualism environment I was a bit less productive.
My favorite part of my internship is actually how I spent my day Wednesday. I love being able to go and do furniture installations because not only do I get to see the end product of all of our work, but I also get to have direct interactions with our clients. It’s amazing to be able to work with different major corporations throughout London and see a little piece of how all these offices operate. Most of these companies have a clear Eiffel tower sort of structure to their companies. When I first arrive I am usually dealing with a receptionist or personal assistant, these people then take me to their supervisors who are most commonly the people I am doing business with. This is a very similar structure to the way companies are ordinarily run in the U.S. so this was very easy to adapt to and well inside of my cultural norm.
This week at Omni Local I saw a different side of event planning- establishing partnerships. In order to get Laugh Kingston completed and presented at the end of October John knew that he had to get outside help. He set up a meeting with a man named Dan from a company called Wildcard who has held several successful festivals in the past. Upon coming to the meeting Dan constructed an email laying out his ideas to make the event run more smoothly. The major points he highlighted were producing online ticketing to generate revenue before the festival and giving the venues less freedom in scheduling the acts they would like to host. These ideas consumed our meeting because they strayed from John’s main goal to focus on charity. I believe I took a great deal from this meeting by sitting quietly, because I got first hand experience watching the storming phase of group collaboration.
This was not a usual meet and greet for a business venture. Typically when groups meet for the first time they get side tracked with personal stories to try to get to know each other better. This situation was much different. Dan when straight into the meeting with improvements he wanted to make on the event. He began telling us what to expect before John even knew that he was on board for the partnership. Some may see this as excitement and eagerness, but John saw it as Dan trying to turn his charity event into a profit. I realized that in order to be taken seriously you have to be willing to put your ideas out in the open from the beginning. Yes, it can appear to be aggressive but it gets the job done. John needed to hear the hard truth about some of his amateur ideas from Dan, who has previous experience. Dan needed to be told that not everything is about revenue from John who is more focused on celebrating the local community of Kingston. Overall, I believe their new relationship will make the event happen on time. I am glad that I got to see the next step in the process of putting together an enormous event right before heading home.
Sadly, it was my last week at Lucy Choi London, and every moment was bittersweet. For the last two months I fell into the routine of waking up at 7am, catching the circle line to Bayswater, walking passed countless tourist shops and Indian restaurants, and making the turn onto the quaint Porchester Square.
The decision I made over a year ago to embark on an international internship program as opposed to a domestic internship program in the US proved to be more valuable to my education than I could have ever imagined. Having the opportunity to work alongside luxury shoe designer, Lucy Choi, has given me an overwhelming amount of knowledge, insight, and experience needed in order to understand the realm of global business and the fashion industry. My two-month taste of the operations behind a business with so much potential and excitement for the future has only intensified my desires to one day work abroad.
Hopefully, I will not I have to wait forever to turn those dreams of working abroad into a permanent reality. Due to all of the work I have done these last two months to help out in the office and also boost the activity of her social media accounts, Lucy has extended the offer to keep in touch while I finish my schooling in the states, still be a part of her team and help with social media, and also come back and work for her in London in two years time. Needless to say, I could not be more excited for what the future holds! Thank you FIE, thank you Lucy Choi, thank you London.
This week in my internship I worked a lot with social media and newsletters. I learned how to use the program that allows you to format a newsletter and send it out to everyone who is subscribed to receive them. The newsletter that I wrote up was about the World of Miss L Fire boutique and grand opening party. Since I did not attend the grand opening party and have never been to the store in Las Angeles I was given blog posts and articles to read that were written about the store. This material was very helpful to me not only to write up the newsletter, but they also helped me to better understand the company and its customers. From the material that I read I realized that there is a fairly large population that has a love for retro fashion, and they are a pretty tight knit community in Las Angeles. The people who all attended the grand opening party all have been looking forward to it and were more than excited to welcome a Miss L Fire boutique to their neighborhood. I found this very interesting because I don’t often see women dressed in full on vintage fashions walking down the street, this goes to show that Lynsey and her team did a fabulous job at picking out the location of the shop and found a location where it will do well and bring something more to the community.
This past week at Attaché Communications was my probably my favorite week yet. Jane has taken on a new project that I really am enjoying helping her with, I really would have loved to be working on this my whole time here. A new skin care line is launching, and Jane is assisting in promoting the products around London. I have assisted her in coming up with creative and innovative ideas to allow the new line to stand out from its competition. As I have previously expressed, Jane is not up to date in the technology field, so I helped her create a twitter account for the skin care line. This will help prospective customers learn more. I also helped Jane re-design the website for the line, making the site look more attractive and appealing.
As my internship is coming into its last week, I can’t express enough how lucky I feel to have been able to take part in an international internship. The company I worked with has given me knowledge on how businesses can be run in a different country, as well as skills I know will be useful throughout whichever career path I take in the future.
I cannot believe that my time here in London has finally come to an end. I never could have anticipated all that I would learn during my two and a half months here. Looking back on my experience at FashAddict, there are a couple things that come to mind that I have learned, which I believe will benefit me greatly in my future endeavors.
One of the most important traits I have learned with my internship at FashAddict is how crucial confidence is for success. Often times, I find myself feeling small and uncertain when I come up with ideas to present to my employer and I know this shows. Through much help and guidance, Jackie has taught me how to confidently present my ideas in thoughts in a logical, confident way that shows those who I am working for that I am “confident that my idea will be successful and beneficial to my company. I believe that this life skill will carry me far in future job opportunities.
Another important trait I learned at FashAddict is the importance of keeping good accounts of ones spending’s and savings. Because FashAddict is lacking in their fiscal department, I have seen money and time often go to waist because there is not the appropriate means of tracking finance. I believe that having items such as a company credit card, a financial department, and even simple things such as income statements can either make or brake your company.
All in all, I am immensely grateful for my many opportunities here in London, and am looking forward to putting them to use in my future endeavors.
After learning that I have mostly a reflective way of learning, I am not surprised in the least. I tend to take an observer’s stand point on how I learn because I know that I need to repeat the action in my head multiple times for me to fully learn how to do something. It may seem like I am not paying attention or I am not even listening but I am just trying to internalize it.
Looking back on my internship learning experience, I displayed this throughout the summer. I learned different tasks on Sage, the account management system, in which I basically had to memorize the different steps to complete a job, whether it was creating an invoice, reconciling an account, or assigning a new job number. After a few weeks, I realized that it was not all about memorizing which button to click but understanding what I was actually doing. If I were handed an invoice, then, instead of remembering the steps I memorized, I would analyze what the document actually meant. If it was a supplier invoice, I would then go to Suppliers, click on the company we needed to pay, and fill out the sequential information needed.
The monthly forecast, on the other hand, was more difficult to understand. I always had to ask questions of my supervisor to make sure I fully understood what I was being taught. I wanted to take full advantage of this summer and my first internship, so even if I sounded dumb, I inquired. Little did I know that the 19-year-old apprentice I was working under hasn’t even learned basic accounting and doing the job perfectly. I was helping him with his homework and to my surprise; I remembered much of my basic accounting skills. If the way I learn and internalize information worked for that, then it will certainly work for this summer and years to come.
This place, Great Britain, has taught me more than I ever expected it to. I came here close-minded with no idea what to expect and even ignorant to cultures abroad. In fact, I didn’t even know which way to look before crossing the road when I first arrived in London. I cannot count how many times I’ve almost been ‘taken out’ by double-decker buses due to my incompetent ability to look right, not left. I’ve adapted though, not only to the norms of UK’s society, but also into a competent employee within the British workplace. The first few weeks of work was a struggle. Not because I didn’t understand my boss’s vague indirect orders coupled with his quirky dry British humor, but mostly because I didn’t understand my company’s purpose. I understood they were a PR company representing clients within the sport industry, but it was unclear how they created value for clients. However, it only took seven weeks of struggle and one organizational analysis report to understand Sports-Impact’s place in the marketing/PR industry. Reflecting on this, I was also able to grasp a better understanding of my position within the company, and my role as a beneficiary to the company. Once I was able to make the connection between my company’s purpose and the tangible benefits I could potentially offer, I was able to complete tasks in a one directional manner resulting in reports that were concise and effective. All in all, this work experience has taught me how to adapt to new business cultures through cross-communicational training, something I will continue to exercise in jobs to come.
These last few weeks of work, I’ve felt like Cinderella at my-wardrobe.com. No, I did not get handed glass slippers and Prince Harry did not pay a visit. This was pre-fairy godmother status—I cleaned windows, I was locked up in storage closets, I fixed broken scanners… it was truly the definition of being on the very bottom of the hierarchy. But as I learned in class from Trompenaar’s Virtuous Circle, “we need humility and humor” in the workplace, especially in British culture. I believe I fully embraced my role as an unpaid intern throughout this experience and accepted that there were a variety of things I didn’t know. For example, how to properly wrap gift boxes. When given the task recently, I faced it head-on. My first attempt was a huge crumpled ball of the delicate stamped company paper; I apologized to my co-worker with admittance that I was horrible at doing anything remotely domestic. I asked her to re-wrap just one, observed, and tried to emulate with the other boxes. Learning is innovation. I wrapped and wrapped those boxes until they looked like they were from Santa’s elves. The Honey and Mumford learning styles test revealed that I am a pragmatist, which makes sense because I learn by experiencing things hand-on and solve problems by taking logical approaches. Through this internship, I’ve discovered that there will be times when I need to think outside of the (gift) box and use resilience to power through various challenges.
By being a member of the PR team, I observed how effective My-wardrobe was in securing press opportunities to publicize the image of the company. As for the efficiency of the British workplace, I noticed aspects that could easily be improved upon in the synchronic office. I stepped in as receptionist for the day when my team realized after 20 successive phone calls one morning that the desk assistant had gone on holiday. Employees are always stepping in for others that are gone even if they are not skilled in that area or department, which makes sense for the small size of the company, yet possibly hindersome and counter-productive. As I mentioned in my organisational analysis, I really would recommend an automatic switchboard for My-wardrobe. All the extension numbers I was given were wrong and several employees have left the company, making it difficult to connect customers to the desired employees. I still was overwhelmed with culture shock after nearly two months of being here when I didn’t understand British accents and phrases on the line. I also can’t answer anyone correctly when they ask me “are you alright?” Yes, I’m fine—I’m actually great. I fell in LOVE with London and overall, I had a great very first internship experience at my-wardrobe.com. After some adaptation to the London workplace and lifestyle, I could definitely see myself living and working here.