Find out how Poonam, an IT student, secured her placement as an Information Systems Intern at multinational company Mondelez. Poonam talks about her decision to do a placement year and how the experience has benefited her, and gives some useful tips for getting an IT internship.
Attending university was a vital step towards my goals especially within the current climate of a competitive global economy. So naturally a placement year was always something I wanted to do; gaining hands on experience within an industry, taking an educational break from University life and extending my professional network with people who are already in the field.
I’m currently studying Information Technology (IT) at the University of Leeds, and I found out about this internship opportunity at my local careers fair. My aim was to find industry experience in a different sector but still working within IT itself – this way I am able work within an international organisation, that may not be traditionally renowned as an IT company but I am still able to work on technology solutions for the wider business. I’m a big lover of food, so working for a company that creates such amazing food brands really attracted me! I also like the fact that I was involved in designing my internship.
My role today and what I’m involved in:
I’m currently working within a global team in Supply Planning. Over the past couple of months, I’ve been helping the business to reduce waste and drive efficiency through a ‘Trade Life Guarantee’ in our systems. I’ve also been Project Managing a number of smaller projects to drive efficiencies across our business, for example through the retirement of applications. Below are some of the projects I have also been involved in;
- Managing SharePoint websites for Intern/Graduate Entry and Occupational Health
- Helping with Remedy Service Desk; Incident Management Ticketing System
- HR related telephone testing
- Working with external vendors
Advice to current students coming into the same sector:
I was a complete novice to the application process and I had no real relevant computing experience within industry prior to this placement. However, you can demonstrate the skills you have in a different way for example, by joining clubs and societies or any part-time work you may have carried out.
- Prepare and prepare hard – make a list of all the companies you think you may be interested in, look at the job description not just the title of the employment (it differs company to company!)
- Start early – why wait? You’ve got exams and other priorities, but if this is something you’re passionate about then you’ll make time.
- Talk – Get out there, looking through job adverts day in day out can be a job itself, talk to people, lecturers, friends, careers advisers and employees of the industry themselves.
My top 3!
- Don’t panic, everyone is in the same position as you – the company has interviewed you or shown interest in you for some reason; now show them what you got.
- You won’t be brilliant at everything, I’m certainly not – but that’s what this placement year is about; finding your feet, growing and focusing on what you excel in.
- Join, involve and surround yourself in not only the job at hand but other things you come across too. I’m actively seeking opportunities throughout my place here, the way I see it is – 9-12 months; how much exposure and experience can I get before I return to academia.