Eleanor Coggins

English BA

Why did you decide to undertake a professional placement year?

I decided I wanted to do a placement year as I didn’t feel ready to go straight into the workplace full time as soon as I graduated. I thought a placement was the best option here as I would be able to apply everything that I have learnt throughout my life in education, without the commitment to get started with my future career as I had to safety that I knew I was returning to Uni the year after. It was a great way to see the business area I wanted to work in after Uni without any serious commitment.

Why did you decide to apply to The Walt Disney Company?

I decided to apply to The Walt Disney Company as they are the best widely known and successful film/TV company in the world. I thought that if I wanted to gain experience within the media industry then Disney would be the best company as Disney own such a variety of film as well as TV companies.

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

My tips for the application process would be to completely be yourself, present your passion and professional eagerness into the job role. You will probably fill out a lot of placement applications so don’t let it tire you and make sure to dedicate time and effort to each one.

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

I took on a lot more responsibility towards the end of placement, for example shadowing event management at the start to then managing them myself towards the end. As the intern I had basic everyday office duties to assist the whole of my team such as scanning, keeping up to date with business press and taking care of our sites that our clients used. However I also had an equal amount of rewarding responsibilities like liaising with customers and clients (such as BBC/SKY/Channel 5) and managing merchandise for the department too.

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

I expected my intern role to have a lot less important responsibility and to mainly shadow/oversee my team and be making lots of tea, but I was glad to be given important job roles early on and take some key tasks into my own hands like the events, merchandise, pitch ideas and client communication.

What was your biggest achievement during your placement?

My biggest achievement was the professional and personal confidence that I gained from working in a professional environment with adults for a whole year. I grew to have a lot more confidence in my work-based decision making and passions, but also in myself personally.

What was the biggest challenge you faced on your placement?

The biggest challenge I faced on placement was dealing with the office politics that goes on! I managed to stay neutral and out of any trouble which helped me a lot throughout my year, which I would recommend doing.

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

Key projects that I worked on during placement were mainly client screenings for every key movie release. I was able to see the outcome each time as we attended and welcomed the clients that were invited to the event. From working with the character events team, the cinema itself, the US teams on attaining the movie digitally, entertainment companies, buying merchandise etc…it was great to see this all come together on the day and see the happy faces of the clients and their families. This was a great way for the department to remain amazing client relationships.

What new skills did you learn on placement?

From taking part in skills workshops and days, the main grateful skill that I learnt on placement was my presentation skills. I also found my professional communication got a lot better from communicating with colleagues, clients and customers via email and verbally every day.

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

Doing a placement will make me a lot more confident to enter the workplace when I leave Uni and also just finish education and work my way into life after education in general. From seeing the opportunities that are outside Uni it has made me a lot more excited. Although, it is also making me appreciate my last year at Uni even more so than if I would have just done a three-year course and then graduated.

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

Disney employs over 200 interns each year. I feel that they benefit hugely from having at least one placement student in every team as each year the teams get a brand-new set of eyes, whether it’s creatively or just to view how the business is running and have some young input. The placement students keep the office a happy and lively place with their eagerness which the employees mentioned consistently that they would miss if they did not have placement students.