In our latest post, Marketing Management student Cristian Filip gives us the inside scoop on placement life at the global giant Intel.
Where are you currently on placement, and what is your placement role?
I am currently on placement at Intel Corporation in Shannon, Ireland. I work as a Marketing and Operations Intern, being a member of the NPG Market Development team.
When you started searching for placements did you have a specific type of role in mind?
When I started looking for a placement, I didn’t have a specific company or role in mind. However, I knew that I wanted to spend my placement year in a multinational corporation, interact with as many business professionals as possible (from all over the world) and work in a Business role.
Why did you choose the sandwich placement route for your course, rather than the three-year option?
I decided to opt for the sandwich placement route because I felt that I would improve my existing skills, and develop new skills, as well as gaining relevant experience in the Business sector. Before I joined Intel I did an Agency Life Internship (at I-COM Manchester) that helped me understand how important it is to put in to practice what I learned at University, gaining new skills that can be transferred into any job role in the future.
Also, I realized that the Business/Marketing industry is a very competitive one and that a Placement at an international company could boost my CV and support me in differentiating myself from other candidates, when applying for a graduate position.
Approximately how many placement applications did you make in total?
I started my Placement search in October and I finally got this role in June! It was a long journey and I applied to loads of companies. Even though I felt disappointed and scared that I wouldn’t be able to secure a Placement, I never lost hope and I NEVER stopped writing cover letters and going to Interviews.
Due to the fact that I wasn’t interested in a small company, the recruitment process took months (for instance, the screening process of my application and interview stage for Volkswagen Financial Services took 3 months), the level of competition was very high and it wasn’t easy at all…
However, my dream came true (I know that this sounds as a cliché, but it’s true) and for someone who is not afraid of hard work, that’s the only thing that matters. Overall, I did approximately 50 applications.
What type of selection processes did you go through for your applications, and what are your top tips for excelling in these?
Video Interviews– They seem really easy at the beginning, but this selection process was the one that I found the most challenging. It’s kind of difficult to talk to yourself, smile, be confident, but also keep an eye on the timer; so, practice, practice, practice! – I initially didn’t, and it was a total disaster. The company should send you a link to practice a set of questions before sending the final video interview, but if they don’t, don’t worry and ask the Business Placement Team for help, they have a few too :).
Assessment Days – Be yourself, be very friendly and interact with everyone (from the receptionist, the people that interview you to the other candidates)! You are being constantly watched, so act confident and smile all the time (and obviously, research the company very well)! I know that it’s difficult to believe, but you will have a lot of fun and at the end of the day you will realise how much you enjoyed everything. After all, you are one of the best candidates and you reached the final stage!
Telephone Interviews – I simply love them! They are the best! If you did your homework, researched the company and know the job description, I have no doubt that you will nail them! Just make sure that you have a copy of your covering letter, CV and some stuff about the company in front of you- it’s true, you cheat in a certain way, but everyone does it and it will make you feel in charge and confident 😉
Presentations – Learn and know your slides; make eye contact and use the slides as a way of illustrating what you’re saying, don’t use them as a prompter. Write a small speech maybe and learn it. You need to practice a lot, because you will be very nervous in front of the board and you wouldn’t want to miss the best part of your presentation. Don’t focus too much on the design of the slides or on how they look; they are interested in you, in what you are saying and the way you feel when delivering such a task.
Interviews – Research the company, prepare a few questions to ask at the end, be positive and honest. Make eye contact and shake hands when meeting the interviewer.
Psychometric tests – Personally, for me, they were a true nightmare. The secret is to practice as many as possible (when you’re an expert at those, please share your wisdom with me :))
GENERAL ADVICE: The companies know that you don’t have loads of experience; so don’t lie (because they will know) or be worried that you won’t face the challenge. Try and find relevant examples to illustrate how you fit with the job description and the company.
What type of companies did you have assessment days and/or interviews with? What was your experience of these?
I had phone/Skype/face-to-face interviews with Renault, Kia, Toyota, Volkswagen Financial Services, Babylangues Paris, Walt Disney, Texas Instruments, Intel, Mars, Nike, ATG Access, and NPW London.
For my Intel role:
I thought that I had no chance of getting the Intel job, but after sending so many applications, I didn’t mind writing another one.
They called me one week later, inviting me for a phone interview. They wanted to know more about myself, and why I wanted to be part of their team. I was very interested in the role, because it included a lot of traveling; Intel is a huge company and I would therefore work directly with many people from their central office in the USA. They told me that they still had a few candidates to speak to and that they would call me in one week.
It was an amazing surprise to receive another call from them the next day, inviting me to the final interview. It was a Skype interview and they only wanted to find out more about me, my understanding about the role and my future plans.
In 3 days they got back to me, offering the job.
They were very professional and friendly during the entire process, so I would recommend to anyone to try and submit an application.
What are your top tips for impressing at an interview or assessment day?
- I normally research the company and try to memorise 2-3 aspects that I really love about it (products, company values, company legacy)
- I try to discover my unique selling point and link it to the company values and required job skills
- I research the company on Glassdoor (here you can find reviews of candidates discussing their interview experience, salary and so on) and make a list with the questions they might answer
- I always have 2-3 questions prepared for the last part of the interview
- I normally wear a suit and try to look and sound as professional as possible
What have been the highlights of your placement year so far?
- During the first month, I completed a lot of online training in order to gain a better understanding of the business. I met everyone from my team and I had phone meetings with my colleagues from the USA and gained a better understanding of my role.
- I offered business advice to 3 teams of Interns for an Intel competition.
- I got involved in a committee that represents Interns’ interests
- I am in charge of tracking the business metrics, managing marketing operations and planning events.
And what have been the biggest challenges?
I am a Marketing Management student and Intel is the world’s largest and highest valued semiconductor chip maker. So you can imagine that this is a true challenge due to the fact that I have no IT knowledge and I knew nothing about engineering or computer science before I came here. Even though I still have many things to learn and everything seemed hard to understand at the beginning (or still is). At this point, I have gained a better understanding of the digital environment, the different types of networks/network functions virtualization, and I am constantly overcoming my personal limits.
Are there specific skills that you feel you have developed during your placement year so far? If so, what are they?
- Public speaking skills
- Market research
- Improved commercial awareness
- IT skills: Excel abilities
- Networking skills
- Organizational abilities
Do you feel you will approach your final year differently because of the experience you have gained, and skills you have developed throughout your placement year? If so, how?
Yes, I think the skills that I have acquired so far will help me in my final year, in understanding the Business and Marketing environment. I truly believe that someone can only gain such deep knowledge if they are enrolled in a Placement year.
What would be your top tips for a student to maximize their chances of securing a placement?
- Read as many industry articles as possible
- Attend the “MMU Professional Development Week” (the next one is week commencing 31st October 2016)
- Take part in extracurricular activities
- Opt for the Agency Life Unit (if you can)
- Read articles/ watch Youtube tutorials of successful interviews
- Have your applications checked by the Business Placement team
- Create a Linkedin profile
And finally, if you could sum up your placement experience in one sentence, what would it be?
A keystone in building myself, as an individual and professional.
For support and advice to help you gain YOUR ideal placement contact the Business School Placement Team on 0161 247 3711 or come to the Business Placements desk in the Employability Hub on the ground floor of the Business School.
We can help with all aspects of placements searching; from initial applications through to preparing for telephone & video interviews, assessment days, or even just to check you are on the right track with your placement search. Get in touch today!