Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Hippolyte's placement at the Walt Disney Company - an update

This is an update from Hippolyte Petit after 9 months in his placement in the Marketing Department of the Walt Disney Company. He is based in the Walt Disney offices in Hammersmith. Hippolyte is studying for the 4 year BSc Management with International Business (Year in Business) at Royal Holloway.

Everything is going really well here at Disney. Star Wars theatrical release has brought loads of excitation and work, but we are very happy of the performances we have achieved on social medias in Europe, Middle East and Africa. 

I am now working on completely different movies. We are preparing the release of the new Nemo: Finding Dory, the new The Jungle Book movie, as well as the new Marvel movie: Captain America. The social media content we are producing for these is looking really good - I'm very excited about it !

The amount of work I have has increased, since two members of my team have moved on. However, that gives me even more responsibilities and allows me to develop strong organisational skills. I'm becoming an expert in time management - which will be more than useful for my final year at University without doubt. 
On the other hand, I have received some very, very good feedback about my work here and so I feel very positive about my placement.

Hippolyte's original blog post can be viewed here:

This is a video of Hippolyte talking more about his placement and offering guidance to other Royal Holloway students looking for placements.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

DHL site visit - February 3rd

 On 3rd February Royal Holloway Year in Business students were fortunate to spend the afternoon with DHL's Kevin Webber, Head of Performance, at DHL's Flight Assembly Centre in Colnbrook.

DHL is one of the largest logistics specialists and one of their clients, British Airways PLC, is one of the largest airlines in the World.  DHL is one of BA's trusted partners working to provide a range of services including inflight catering, menu design, procurement, sourcing and supply management, assembly operations. This all takes place at the Flight Assembly Centre in Colnbrook and students enjoyed a fascinating presentation and warehouse tour. We were impressed by the recycling processes we witnessed - DHL recycle 100% of the items they remove from the plane.We also witnessed a number of innovations DHL have already introduced to the business, including the use of a stock consumption tool to better forecast the food/ drink items required on flights.

Interesting facts about DHL's Specialist Supply chain division:
> Caters for 94,000+ flights per year
> Provides a total of 20.5 million meals per year
> Makes 47,000 + Higher loader truck trips airside per year.

DHL's business placement positions at the Flight Assembly Centre will provide students with valuable work experience within a global organisation and interacting with one of DHL's key customers. Students will have the chance to work with the Operations Management team, reviewing current processes and identifying potential improvements.They should be numerate and have experience of manipulating data/ spreadsheets and an ability to present and articulate their findings.

This is a very exciting opportunity and anyone interested in applying should contact Katharine Radford in the Royal Holloway Year in Business team for more details (Katharine.radford@rhul.ac.uk)

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

IBM Assessment Centre training: 26th January

In January The Year in Business team invited IBM to run an Assessment Centre training for Royal Holloway students. Many students are currently in the midst of placement applications and really appreciated the opportunity to gain practical experience of different tests and group exercises and to receive feedback from the IBM professionals on how they had performed.

IBM is the world's largest IT and Consulting Services compnay with 400,000 employeers worldwide spread across 170 countries.

Duncan, Josh and Tim from IBM talked about the application process their company used:

To be successful, students have to progress through each stage of the application process:
> Online application form - demonstrating that they will get a minimum of 2:1 degree
> Online test (Information Processing Aptitude Test)
>Assessment Centre (group exercises) / Interview
> Final Interview

During the 1st stage of the workshop students had to give examples of how they demonstrated IBM's core competencies (more details of each are found on the IBM website)

> Creative Problem solving
> Adaptability
> Teamwork
> Communication
> Drive to achieve
> Client focus (meeting Customer needs)
> Passion for the business
 > Leadership and ability to take ownership

IBM encouraged students to use the STAR approach as taught in the Royal Holloway 2nd year Employability Module to talk through their examples:

S - Situation
T-  Task
A - Action
R - Result

During the 2nd stage of the workshop students were able to complete an Information Processing Aptitude Test which IBM use to test the candidate's logical reasoning and their ability to process information quickly. They recommended finding somewhere quiet to take the test, being prepared with paper, calculator and pens and taking time to understand the sample questions provided for each section of the test. Remember The Careers' Service also provides examples of psychometric tests for you to practice in advance of doing any such tests. Look here:

During the final stage of the workshop Students were split into groups and given a logic exercise to work through. They were reminded that this exercise gives employers the opportunity to see how the students work as a team, while allowing the student to demonstrate a range of competencies including communication, team work, problem solving/ analytical skills and whether they are capable of leading a team.

The IBM professionals gave a number of useful tips in advance:
> Be aware of how you are being perceived during the exercise
> Encourage all candidates to participate - involve others/ don't shout over other team members.
> Keep the discussion on track/ Try to reach a consensus decision or plan of action in the time allowed/ Make sure the group sticks to time.
> Quality of what you say is better than quantity
> You will most likely not be assessed on the exercise but how you work as part of the team.

We are very grateful to IBM for running this session. More information can be found on IBM's website:http://www-05.ibm.com/employment/uk/undergraduates/application_process.shtml

There is also more information about Assessment Centres on the Royal Holloway Careers site including a very useful video of an assessment centre exercise to watch.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Amy Taylor's placement offer with Enterprise Rent a Car

2nd year Amy Taylor who is studying at Royal Holloway's School of Management on the 4 year  "Year in Business (YIB) programme" has already secured her placement for next year with Enterprise Rent a Car. In this blog article she talks about her she found the application process and gives a lot of advice for other students looking for placements. 1st years who will be embarking on their placement search later in the year maybe interested to read Amy's advice about starting the process early.

How did you find the application process?

When preparing myself for the application process, I took into consideration the advice from previous YIB  students and the placement staff who all suggested starting early and this proved vital in me gaining a placement. Having never held a job in a senior management position before or any real experience in specific company sectors I knew the application process would be challenging and time consuming. After attending many placement advice evenings in my first year, I knew that a CV could make or break your success in finding a placement, so I did my research on what makes a good CV and used the resources available on the university careers page to shape my skills and experience to each job role. I would highly recommend attending the placement events held at University and visiting the careers centre (or at the very least have a read of the website), you will gain valuable information and a better understanding of how your CV is perceived by potential employers. 

Initially I did a general google search for the top student employers and recommended placements for management students. Following the advice of the careers staff I then focused my searches on Rate My placement. The book based on this website was a major asset to me narrowing down my placement options, it gave details on each company, explaining the type of positions available and helped me compare the advantages of each firm. 

After this stage, I realised how time consuming applying for placements is. Along with repeating all your personal details for each position, you often have to answer multiple questions which vary from mathematical, verbal or scenario. These require a great deal of focus and time, so trying to find time between all your other commitments is very difficult. In my first year we were recommended to start applying early into second year, primarily in the later weeks of 1st term. However, the strongest bit of advice I can offer is it’s never too early! I began applying for placements during the summer after my first year to avoid the stress of applying during my studies. Although there are fewer placements open, you get a head start and get the process moving quicker. 

Due to my eagerness to apply very early I was offered to participate in multiple telephone and video interviews. I found these so much easier compared to the daunting online test questions. Centred on my previous experience and skills, it is just an opportunity for you to show your personality and demonstrate what you can offer a company. Confidence is key for this stage in the process, although you do not want to appear to be reading from a script, I found it useful to scribble down some notes before the interviews about examples of key skills and some answers to general interview questions. This preparation ensures you can answer the questions fully and not miss out anything important.
Within 2 months I was offered the opportunity to go to an Assessment centre. I had no idea what to expect and unsure how they would be measuring my ability to perform the job. Fortunately the careers centre held an evening to meet local company representatives. I strongly advise that whilst you attend these events, you should take to time to hang around after and talk to the employers. I took this opportunity to ask them how they run assessment centres and what I should expect. I gained some valuable knowledge as well as networking with these companies. The assessment centre was not what I expected at all. There was a very relaxed atmosphere and an overall great day. You should never be afraid to ask questions or make suggestions. Get stuck into group tasks! They will be looking for leadership qualities and by being confident and making your view heard you will be remembered.

I was very fortunate with the placement process as it was a lot less stressful than expected. However this is only due to me starting very early and getting my name out therefore before the crowds of applications. So get applying early!

What recommendations would you make to that Year in Business students starting in their 1st year at Royal Holloway and their 2nd year?
My advice for 1st years is to not wait until you start second year to start applying for placements. Second year involves a lot of reading and essays, so the last thing you will want to do is to come home from a long day and spend hours in the evening applying for placements. Get your LinkedIn set up early and keep an eye on placement websites during the summer. A contributing factor me being offered my placement was my early application- it demonstrates dedication and eagerness. I would also recommend using the facilities made available to you via the careers centre. The advice on CVs, assessment centres and opportunities to meet potential employers is vital.

Following this I would advise second years not to give up, the application process is very time consuming and frustrating. But persist through and demonstrate confidence and preparation throughout each stage and you will be rewarded eventually. 

What is your job title and what projects will you be working on?
I will be working for Enterprise rent-a-car as a management trainee at the Heathrow Airport branch. I will learn how to motivate a team, achieve performance goals and run a branch. Along with regular interactions with customers I will gain a greater understanding of the business world. This placement appealed to me as it incorporated all aspects of my degree and not focused on one particular sector. I hope this will help me decide which sector I wish to pursue in my career.