Autumn 2012 Week 6: 22-26 October

The interns take you through their week, day by day…

Monday 22 October am (Elmira)
We spent Monday morning at our HQ, the Unicorn Jobs office in Shoreditch. Although it was grey outside, we began our week in high spirits. We had two hours free during which we were able to get up to date with our weekly tasks (newspaper reviews and job application forms) before Sarah came in to give us her session.

Four of us got the chance to have one-on-ones with Sarah today, to go over our job application forms, and to discuss what we are looking for in our careers, and how we can achieve our goals. This gave us a great opportunity to set targets for ourselves. It also gave us the chance to talk about how we are finding the programme, and whether we are getting enough out of it.

Monday 22 October pm (Charlet)
This afternoon we had some more free time, which was a good thing, really, as, on top of all our other assignments, we have now been advised that we must apply for five jobs a week, details of which we will have to present back to Sarah. Having much needed free time at the beginning of the week allowed us to keep on top of all the pieces of work that have to be submitted on Friday.

Tuesday 23 October (Jasmine)
Today we were at the Shoreditch office again for our sessions with Chris Cooke, and focused on finishing our training on newspapers.

It was helpful to go through the regional, local, free sheets and evening papers, discussing them from a PR angle, coming to understand how each of these media operates, and learning in which order PRs might target them. We also discussed business media from a corporate and finance PR perspective, including print, radio and magazines.

The second part of Chris’s session today involved review writing; we watched ‘Thank You For Smoking’, a 2005 comedy-drama film written and directed by Jason Reitman, based on the 1994 satirical novel by Christopher Buckley, in order to write a review of it.

I really enjoyed the film, and in particular the caricatured behaviour of the PR characters, who brag to each other and argue over whose business kills the most people per year in reference to smoking and alcohol. I shall be writing my first ever film review this week as part of Chris’s assignments for next week!

Wednesday 24 October (Nadia)
Today was a busy day at the office. I began the day by working on my newspaper review. As I stared at the Daily Mirror I realised that the Jimmy Savile story was again front page news! What a couple of weeks it has been! Though it’s disturbing, it has been interesting to follow this story, to see its progression, how the news has gathered momentum, and to note the different ways in which different media have reported on it.

Next, I finished off my appraisals. As time has gone on, this has become easier, and it gave me time to sit down and think about how my fellow trainees and I have developed since the beginning of the programme. I look forward to receiving my own appraisals; it’s a good way to learn about your own weaknesses and strengths.

After lunch, I finished my Edelman task, and felt very organised and prepared for the busy Thursday ahead!

Thursday 25 October am (Chandni)
This morning we visited BT headquarters, and it was a really stimulating trip.

On arriving we were met by Christopher Howe, and given an insight into what BT does; it helped us to realise that BT does a great deal more than just broadband and home-phones.

Next, we met Michael Prescott , group director of corporate affairs, who was friendly and warm as he told us about the previous steps in his career, and and how he got to where he is today. He presented us with real life scenario and asked us how we would make a decision and what it would be, which helped us to think about corporate affairs more, and the decision making processes that we would have to go through.

We then met Kina Kara. Kina is passionate about PR, and she was more than happy to tell us about her career and answer all our questions. It was a really exciting and entertaining morning!

Thursday 25 October pm (Lola)
This afternoon we had the opportunity to speak with the PR and marketing team at the Southbank Centre.

The meeting was led by Trish O’Connor, Head of Press, who gave us a greater insight into what working in Arts PR actually entails, telling us about the variety of events and activities that take place at the centre, and which annual events she particularly enjoyed. Although I was familiar with the company beforehand, I was definitely unaware that the centre was open to all members of the public as a free venue to just hang out.

Whilst we were there, the interns were given a brief to fulfil. We were required to come up with some creative ideas on how to promote the company’s winter festival and present our plans to the rest of the group. I think it is definitely helpful when the trips that we go on provide us with a task to complete as it allows us to put some of the knowledge that we have been acquiring over the weeks into practice.

Friday 26 October am (Catherine)
This morning, we had an exciting training session with Christine Quigley, a senior account manager from Edelman’s public affairs team, who gave us an overview of this area, and how fits in with our political system. We then discussed the diversity of the different kind of clients Edelman has, and the types of work the firm does for them.

We also looked at the differences between the American and British lobbying system, helped by an entertaining snippet from the lobbying comedy-drama ‘Thank you for smoking’ (A great must-watch film by the way). Altogether it was a very exciting session, and I think it left us all giving the possibility of a career in public affairs more thought!

Friday 26 October pm (Bolu)
This afternoon, we were privileged to benefit from a 30 minute chat with the CEO of Edelman EMEA, Robert Phillips! We were all incredibly nervous and got to the meeting room about 15 minutes early because we were so terrified of being late!

However, when Mr Phillips arrived and sat down at the middle of the table, rather than the head, we knew that he wasn’t going to be someone who would be intentionally intimidating; in fact, he was, incredibly down to earth- especially considering everything he has achieved in his career.

He spoke to us about how he got into PR, why he got into PR, what he loves about PR, and where the industry is headed. We were totally engrossed and disarmed as he chatted to us in a completely friendly way, with no airs and graces. It was so fascinating to learn about how he completely turned Edelman around for the better when he joined, making it the largest (and best… though I may be biased) PR consultancy in the world. From the office layout, to how the departments sit, all of this made a difference to how effective Edelman is a PR consultancy.

Robert Phillips was very funny and open, and invited questions from all of us. We learned so, so, much from him, and by the time he left we were so inspired! For me, it compounded the fact that PR really is the industry that I need to be in, and reaffirmed the fact that we really are quite blessed to get some experience at Edelman so early in our careers!