Jolisa’s O2 work experience at Level 4

I am a first-year undergraduate student at the University of Gloucestershire studying Marketing, Advertising and Branding.

As a mature student, I already had an idea of where I want my degree to take me, and I know and understand how employers really value work experience. I’ve taken the opportunities that being a university student gives you, and I have already begun to build my marketing portfolio.

Whilst in my first year, I was able to gain real-life work experience with the head office of the company I already work for, O2.  While I know that I want to be in marketing, I didn’t realise the many routes you could take on the marketing spectrum. When I contacted the placement team at O2, I explained how I was unsure of which route was best for me. As a result, they placed me with two different departments over my four-week placement.

To give me the best work experience, I was able to spend my placement time with the agency teams that O2 works within London rather than working in the head office in Slough. This was I was able to see the best of both worlds, how being client side was like and how the agency side worked.

For the first two weeks, I spent my time with the creative department, who worked alongside an agency called VCCP. During my time here, I was able to experience how a marketing campaign was created, which was perfect timing as the module I was doing at university at the time was Marketing Communications. I was able to see what I was learning come to life and to see the relevance of all that was being taught. While working with the creative department, I was able to participate by offering feedback on some of the ideas that both the agency and the client had thought of. At the time O2 was working on the breath it all in campaign so I saw the importance of selecting the correct channels to distribute the advertisement on, as well as the importance of creating an advert that fits a 60 second time slot but could also be shortened if need be.

For the last two weeks, I spent my time with the brand department with an agency called Lambie Nairn, who were also based in London. With the brand team, I was able to experience the legalities of having a trademark and how and when the trademark should be used. I was able to participate in brand research on other companies such as Nandos, this was relevant as we were looking at how these brands have become successful in their branding and how O2 could use some of the techniques in their own branding.

At the end of my time with O2 marketing team, I was fortunate enough to see the campaign I started on be brought to life, as I drove into London for the last time I was greeted with a billboard poster of the new campaign. It was such an amazing experience.

Once my placement had finished I had time to reflect on what I had experience in the real working world and how it was all relevant to the topics I was studying at university. Of course, all of the marketing modules were very relevant, but the most shocking to me was the use of accounting and finance by the head of marketing who I spent my last day working with. The accounting and finance module has been a difficult one for me, but seeing the importance and relevance of it, in the field of work I hope to go into, really pushed me more to try and understand the topic.

I am very thankful for the university for helping me with this experience. Because I had to travel to London and back, I was a little concerned over the affordability, luckily the Future Plan team had offered me a bursary for completing a work placement, and I was able to use the money to help pay for fuel and the London Tube.

Here is a statement from my manager Alex Meadowcroft, discussing what she thought about my time with them:  

“Jolisa worked alongside the O2 Brand and Creative team for a month-long period. Over that time, she spent two days working with the creative & media team at our agency VCCP, and two days working alongside our brand team and Lambie Nairn’s studio.

She presented herself as a curious and interested team member, contributing thoughtful insights and feedback in the meetings she attended. We especially appreciated insights she proposed from learnings gained as a retail team member with O2. Our ambition of hosting in two different (but related) teams was to give Jolisa a flavour of the different ways we work and what each team contributes to the customer facing experience and propositions.

Whilst working with Jolisa on the days she was working alongside the brand team, my agency partners and I found her to be similarly curious, asking questions and presenting a genuine interest and involvement during a workshop she attended with all of the agencies.

We thoroughly enjoyed having Jolisa work alongside us for a month, and wish her all the best with her future endeavours!”

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