Louise Madden

Media and Communication BSc

Why did you decide to undertake a professional placement year?

I decided to do a placement year as although I felt academically prepared to enter the world of work, I didn’t feel as though I had the life experience and professional skills that I could develop with a year in industry. It was nice to know that I could leave and share the experience with my friends, but also have the safety blanket of coming back and finishing my degree with a lot more experience under my belt.

Why did you decide to apply to Schlumberger?

Schlumberger stood out to me because it was a whole new world. It was an opportunity for me to learn an entirely new industry whilst also building on my previous experiences and skills. I interviewed for a few ‘big name’ companies, but responsibility and career progression were the main things that I was seeking– and I knew from the moment that I interviewed with SLB that this was one of the few places where I would find them!

Do you have any top tips for succeeding in the application process?

Yes! The interviewer isn’t there to trick you. For all you know, they could be an intern themselves. Don’t fear their position, they’re just a normal person at the end of the day so speak to them as though you’re speaking to a friend or lecturer. It’s all about seeing if the company is a right fit for you. From getting to sit on both sides of an interview, I don’t think I’ll ever go into one again with the same kind of apprehensiveness.

What kind of duties and responsibilities did you have in your placement role?

My main responsibilities lay within employer branding, focusing on building Schlumberger’s reputation as a place to work, particularly their employer value proposition. Alongside building their social media content calendar, I oversaw their LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram channels, alongside many other projects and campaigns. It was new for me to focus on marketing a company, more so than marketing a product, leading me to learn so much about the world of marketing and advertising, particularly in B2B industries.

What did you expect from a placement before you started and what actually happened?

My Mum joked that I’d be the ‘tea girl’ for the year, but the level of responsibility that I got from day one was incredible. From presenting in the London HQ within my first few weeks, working on the new global EVP, travelling to Switzerland, Texas, and Paris multiple times, to even curating the global Women & Technology campaign—I can safely say my expectations were blown out of the water. I also discovered that I’m not the best at making tea, so my Mum was definitely wrong!

What was your biggest achievement during your placement?

Looking back, my biggest achievement was the level of trust and responsibility that I earned from all those around me. I always used to think that it was luck, but my placement year really made me realise that luck led me to find the job, but that it was my hard work, attitude, and mind-set that really made me excel. Hiring three new interns for my role was a pat on the back, and another surreal moment was when I looked around the room at the Recruiters Academy in Paris, and just thought to myself how crazy it was to be sat in the same room with such incredible and driven people from all over the world!

What was the biggest challenge you faced on your placement?

I’d say the biggest challenge was finding where I fit and adjusting to life outside of University. Nobody really prepares you for the adjustment, but I was lucky enough to be living with another intern, and Schlumberger put on events for us to meet the other interns, so we all got through it together. Everybody in my team was incredibly welcoming. Handing my laptop back was hard, as I wasn’t ready to let go!

Were there any key projects that you worked on during the placement year? If so, what did they involve and what was the outcome?

One project that I put on the backburner during my placement was setting up a Student Brand Ambassador program, as my hands were already full. However, in my last week, I was adamant to get one set up prior to leaving. It was a huge effort, but I secured a budget, scouted ambassadors, delivered a presentation on the programs intention to the Head of Recruiting and Learning, and organised a training event in London. From the itinerary, presentations, designing of stash and delivery, to booking trains, flights and hotels. It was a huge task to fit into an already busy week, but I loved every second of it! It’s also really rewarding to see the new interns take it further and add their own flare to it.

What new skills did you learn on placement?

The most important thing I learned about myself was that I’m very level headed with a quiet confidence, and that’s okay. You don’t always have to be the loudest in the room to be the most successful, and I didn’t always have to shout if situations weren’t going in the right direction. I think realising that I could have these characteristics and be successful within the workplace was an important lesson, as it allowed me to trust in my ability, and not feel like I wasn’t being what I always thought you needed to be in a work environment. I thrive off being challenged, and Schlumberger definitely pushed me to be my best.

How will doing a placement benefit you in your final year/ the future?

Schlumberger enabled me to meet some incredible people from all over the world. I got to learn, create, travel, and truly find what I’m passionate about. Having my Manager travel to Loughborough on my 22nd birthday to deliver a graduate job offer was the icing on the cake. My experience wouldn’t have been half the adventure if it hadn’t been for my Manager—my Mum always says you find one great mentor, and I definitely feel that I found that.

How do you feel the organisation has benefitted from employing a placement student?

Students are the future of every company. It was a great way for me to see if the company was for me, and to see if I was a good fit for them! Thankfully it was, and I feel incredibly grateful for the opportunity that my placement year gave me. Post-graduation I know that I’m stepping into the next chapter of my life incredibly supported and with a big smile on my face!