What a busy start to September!
I’ve not had the time to just sit down in my own space to just take everything in and reflect. It was refreshing to wake up this morning and start the process of taking it all in. I emptied my bags that I have been living from the last two weeks then started organizing and clearing (those that know me well would know that this honestly is one of the most therapeutic things for me, ever. 😆)
If I were to describe these last two weeks in a word, it would have to be: overwhelming
Back in my August reflection, I mentioned that completed my summer placement at the end of the month then went straight into traveling down to Ipswich for the start of my induction training for BT. Upon reflection, I wish I had taken some time off to just chill out.
The last couple of weeks of my placement was just intensely trying to hand over projects and finish any projects that I could. Not going to lie to you, it was stressful. But it all felt worth it in the end – I mean, who doesn’t like completed projects? But coming in with a less-than-100% capacity wasn’t my smartest move because I ended up getting quite ill in my second week. Needless to say, I learned a lot about burnout. That’s another topic for another day~
🌳Week 1: An introduction to the company
After some issues with getting to Ipswich from Leeds (missing your connecting train is never fun), we finally got to Ipswich after a 6-hour journey. Thankfully, I was with two other girls joining the DevOps scheme so I kept calm – if I was alone, I don’t think I would’ve handled it so well (so a huge shoutout to Hannah and Rabia for being angels the whole time 💜)
I honestly didn’t know what to expect of the week, this was the general consensus but I found the element of surprise fun!
Our week started off in Adastral Park in Ipswich, where BT Labs is based. These labs are the headquarters of research and development for the company: “a campus that covers 100 acres, and home to around 4000 scientists, IT experts and engineers. Innovators who’ve changed our world. Innovating to change tomorrow’s world.” The two days certainly showed this!
My highlights at Adastral Park
- Meeting so many new hires from across the business including Openreach, Global Services and of course, Consumer (the part of the business where I sit!)
- Learning so much about BT:
- The heritage – they’re the oldest communications company in the UK.
- The goal, vision, strategy – to be a leader of converged technology and to add value, growth and use the power of communications to make a better world.
- The impact – not only to power social media. For instance, the role of the network in air traffic control, emergency services, stock exchange, fleet vans.
- The culture and values that bring people under One BT – Personal, Simple, Brillant.
- The technology – I wish I could go into detail about the tech at BT, but that is way too complex! All I know for sure is that I kept saying, “THAT IS SO COOL.”
- The opportunities available – outside my day job, I can get involved in so much including helping bring in talent with Campus Champions, helping with the corporate social responsibility and more!
- Listening to talks on Brand (a personal favorite topic of mine)
- Brand of the company – I found this interesting, I never really thought about how much of an impact brand had on influencing customers. An example I liked was water bottles, have you heard of someone say “Evian water tastes better, IT’S FROM THE MOUNTAINS!!!!” when they, in reality, it all taste the same? The power of a brand.
- Personal brand – our personal brand is not what we think it is, it is how people perceive us i.e. talk about when we are not in the room. This was my favorite talk, we were given a sheet to reflect on What we stand for, What we offer and What we want to be. It was a great way to organize my thoughts, get to grips with my own brand and provided action points!
- Learning about all the programme itself – they scheme is so exciting and full of opportunities. By day 2, I was excited to get into the office and just start!
- Meeting Jake Humphrey
After 2 very full-on days at Ipswich, the next stop was London where we had more Consumer-focused talks and activities.
My highlights at Week 1, BT Centre
- Hearing from senior leadership about their career journey, their advice for new hires/graduates, opportunities at BT including a talk from Marc Allera, CEO of Consumer.
- Learning more about the BT Consumer side of the business from HR, Sales, Retention.
Great to meet our Consumer #graduates earlier today.
Value every connection, every customer. Be a great teammate for the teams you’re in. Be yourself. Work hard – there is no substitute for that.
— Marc Allera (@MarcAllera) September 6, 2018
- Having a tour around the BT Sport Studios in Stratford.
- Our grad buddy showing us all the Instagramable places near St Pauls and taking us out for dinner 💖
BT Sports Advert – Take Them All On
I had to include this in the blog post, the first time I saw this advert was at Adastral Park and I loved it!
🏙Week 2: Marketing, Digital and DevOps
Unlike week 1, week 2 involved more of the EE side of the business focusing on Marketing, Digital and DevOps which is more relevant to my line of work.
- Hearing from teams focusing on the EE brand and really getting the insight of what these teams do e.g. Data and Insights, Community, Digital Marketing, Architecture.
- My personal favorite talk was on the EE Brand, I enjoyed learning about the history of EE and what makes up the EE brand identity. This session also highlighted how a strong brand allows loyalty, trust, forgiveness in addition to generating value.
- Another favorite was the Digital Architecture session where we applied SWOT analysis to understand websites. Y’all know how much I love talking about websites. 😆
- Going to the EE Oxford Street store for a secret shopper task (this reminded me a lot of the times I was working in retail and had secret shoppers come in to assess the store’s customer service and experience)
- Visiting the BT Tower 😱
- Winning Wembley tickets 😱😱
- Learning how to cook (but mostly eating and drinking) at L’atelier des Chefs. This was our surprise activity on Friday, it was a lot of fun! We made our own sushi, dumplings, barbeque with the guidance from chefs at L’atelier. 👩🏻🍳Work hard, play hard.
There was a lot to take in from the last two weeks, here are my key takeaways specific to career.
* Applicable to any recently graduated student heading into the workforce.
- Be self-aware – what can you do? what can’t you do? what do you want to do?
- Be proactive and seek out opportunities, make the most of what’s on offer but also create your own!
- Persistence trumps talent i.e. don’t give up when it gets tough, keep going, keep learning!
- Create a reputation for delivery
- Be a sponge
- Listening > Talking
- Start taking a long-term view of your career
- Be open to being flexible
- Be a great teammate! Acting competitively shows focus on your own lane.
- Always ask for feedback.
- Make time to make space, hitting the ground running is great but you will need to recharge sometimes because this allows better decisions and you will be a lot more effective!
The last one is sound advice and is something I especially need to do more of 😆
🏃🏻♀️Kickstarting this new chapter
I want to tell you about how excited and ready I am for this new chapter, and even though that is 100% true, this new chapter is also super daunting to me.
I’ve been quite open and expressive of my imposter syndrome because it has been affecting me badly recently. It’s something I need to snap out of because I know that I got this far for a reason! I’m very grateful for the reminders and the support from my friends, family, and communities for helping with this 💜 I know that the 2 weeks of induction helped kick some of the imposter syndrome out of my head but sometimes we just need the encouragement!
With all that said, here’s to an awesome two years on the Digital Development and Operations Graduate Scheme with EE! I start my first rotation in the Digital Architecture team on Monday 🎉Wishing all my fellow recently graduated friends also starting their new working life, the best of luck. 🙌🏼