At first when I started working here, the prospect of having to travel longer every day, no longer being bang shot in the centre of Manchester, and the ever shorter days, made me think of my second Manchester Masters placement as a daunting 13 weeks of work I just had to get through.
Then I met the 'Partner Services' team that has been my second home for the past 7 weeks. I was handed a project which was challenging but also perfectly aligned with my strengths and digital marketing experience. Expotel had clearly thought well and hard about what they wanted me to do here and this initial preparation meant I could just shoot straight into my project.
The first few weeks were all about getting to know the company and the industry it operates in. I was fortunate enough to attend the World Travel Market conference for three days, meet Sequel (our agency) down in London, represent the Partner Services team at the Agency Pub Quiz and go on two Familiarity Trips (MacDonald Hotel and the Red Carnation Dinner).
The perks and benefits list is endless. Every other day we have one of our preferred partners visiting and spoiling us with fruit bowls, lunch, sweets and chocolates... and how many people get 2 Christmas parties organised for them?
As for the work, there is nothing quite like being given a project to do, where you have the support of all the decision makers. Doors, floors and windows - they all open for you and its easy to move from one task to the other without bureaucratic time lags. Every business embracing change should do this - identify the key change drivers and manage them, "laissez-faire".
And while my job was mostly about PayPerClick, SEO and Social Media (three terms I probably use more these days than even "thank you" and "hello"), I have still continued to develop:
- Finally got round to some practical PPC experience, learned about "conversion tracking" and got to use Bing's AdCentre as well.
- Have been learning about AB-testing and my understanding of e-commerce has gone from an obsession with "getting traffic to visit a website" to "getting that traffic to convert into a sale" - a far more profitable obsession, I have since discovered.
A key challenge at all our placements will be to build a legacy but then somehow ensure there are people and systems in place to continue what we have achieved, once we move on.
All in all, I keep feeling that these placments, with the trust and co-operation of our managers, could be more like a consultancy experience than a placement one - what a great way to describe them on LinkedIn or when we start going to job interviews in the next couple of months.