Hinna Ghafoor was placed at Porter Novelli by TBF’s experienced matching team and completed an 8 week placement, before having this extended and ultimately being offered a permanent position as a Graduate Trainee. She sent us this review:

My name is Hinna Ghafoor and I applied for the 2019 Taylor Bennett Summer Stars Programme. I wanted to find out more about the world of public relations and communications. Once accepted, I attended a week-long course full of lectures from professionals in the sector. It was quite an intense week, meeting and listening to new people every day, but I learnt so much. It’s really important to take notes and ask as many questions as you can during this precious week.

I was placed in a company called Porter Novelli, a big office with four principal departments. I joined the nine-person Corporate team. Every day, I helped with media monitoring and tasks with a range of different clients. With the other interns, I was given a full introduction, where I met different members of the team and sat down with them as they talked to me about their careers, their departments and the work they did. It was really useful as I got a sense of the work culture and how I would fit in. Furthermore, along with the two other interns, I was given an “intern challenge”, where we would pitch at the end of our four-week internship. I think this challenge was a really clever way to try and make us think about the skills we were gaining and putting them together into a final project. I was also assigned a buddy (who sat next to me) and a line manager (who I sit with every week to go through my progress, feedback and tasks I do). The one-to-one meetings I had with my line manager every week were very useful as I was able to explain any issues or anything that I really enjoyed. My line manager also took the time to ask what I was interested in and looked at incorporating that into the internship. She also gave me regular feedback, which helped me understand how to develop my skills and do more in the office. I would recommend interns to ask for feedback regularly because it is vital that you know about your progress.

I haven’t had any “low” moments, but I’d say that of the most important skills I have learnt is multi-tasking and time management. In an agency, you will be handling several accounts with different deadlines, all of which can be tricky and at times, I was very busy and the office was hectic. But in a weird way, I really loved it! It really forces you to manage your time and prioritise what you are doing (a really good skill to have). My line manager and buddy were always on hand for help and support, which helped me through the busy times.  

The highlight of the internship was the sell-in for a client event. My buddy and I spent a week selling the event to journalists, both on email and on the phone. It was quite a daunting experience, but I gained a ton of confidence.  

After the four-week initial internship, I was asked to stay for 4 more weeks and at the end of those four weeks, I was offered a permanent role!

I’ve just taken one month off as I wanted to do some travelling and relax after having just graduated university. Everyone at work was actually very pleased to hear that I wanted to take some time off and told me to take a full month and enjoy it! It really shows that at Porter Novelli, they respect employees and want them to be well rested and happy.

My top three pieces of advice for people unsure of applying to the TB scheme:  

  1. You will learn so much and honestly, the lecture week, internship and full-time support from Catriona and Melissa is not something regularly offered to young people, let alone people of ethnic backgrounds. It’s a brilliant way to learn about PR/comms, hear from some really amazing professionals and take part in an internship.
  2. Come with the right attitude. Be positive, hard-working and eager. It seems really simple but when I was offered the permanent job, my line manager said that having a positive attitude and saying yes to doing new tasks is a rare thing. Even if some tasks might seem boring, do the hard graft and be grateful for everything it teaches you.

  3. Be proactive. Don’t be invisible. If, during your internship, you feel like you have nothing to do, ask “is there anything I can help anyone with” and you’ll be surprised at how many people will say “oh gosh yes! Can you help me with this thing...”. Being proactive and asking to do things will get you far.

 But overall, my biggest advice is don’t be scared. The companies sign up with TB because they want more diversity and they need young people who have energy, perspective and are ready to work hard.