What is an Excel Internship? And why should I do one while being enrolled in a full time course at University? These were the questions I was asking myself when I first moved to Southampton to start my Master degree. Now that this experience is about to come to an end, I want to share with you how a part time internship at the Digital Learning team helped me develop skills for my career as a marketing graduate.
Why did I decide to apply for an Excel Internship at the Digital Learning Team?
Before venturing into my experience at the Digital Learning Team, I would like to provide you with a very brief background of myself. Having completed a Business Studies degree at Bournemouth University, I spent a year in industry in UK and Germany. Working for two medium enterprises was extremely valuable. I had the opportunity of being involved in a greater number of tasks and responsibilities in marketing and finance. However, I realised that in order to progress further in the strand of business I liked most, I needed to enhance my existing knowledge on Digital Marketing. Therefore I started to look at master degrees within this field.
“Are you sure you want to do this? Are you aware that going back to education might actually disadvantage you in such a competitive business environment? At the end of the day, UK employers tend to value practical experience more than qualifications.”
Not very encouraging right? This was some initial advice I was given, and I remember these words echoed in my mind for quite a while. However, my determination and growing passion for the subject, alongside with a scholarship offered by the Southampton, Business School made my decision easier. Having said that, my concerns of being a year out of employment remained alive. Hence, as soon as I moved to Southampton I started looking for part time marketing jobs. At this time, I came across the Excel internship advertised by the Digital Learning team (iSolutions) at the University of Southampton.
What is an Excel internship?
Excel internships are part time positions advertised to University of Southampton on MyCareer portal. The Digital Learning team was offering a position as a Digital Communications and Engagement Intern. This position involved a great variety of marketing tasks while offering the flexibility with the deadline and exams as part of my full time master degree.
What skills did I develop?
At the Digital Learning team I enjoyed learning about the latest developments in digital and educational technologies such as Virtual Reality, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and film making. Not only did I conduct and manage real life projects, I have also thrived upon the opportunity of gaining practical marketing experience. For instance, I worked on social media, SEO, email marketing and blog writing. All of this was made possible by an incredibly supportive and fun team that I enjoyed being a part of for nearly a year now.
Why was this internship important for my future?
Now that this experience is about to come to an end, I can say that this internship has been an invaluable opportunity to develop my marketing and copywriting skills. Additionally, I thrived upon a unique opportunity to work with more experienced colleagues I could learn from. I just wish I could have more time to learn about film making and graphic design. Working alongside friendly professionals made me feel valued, welcomed and most importantly, challenged. When I first started, my concern was whether I would have been able to combine this Excel internship with my full time master degree commitment. However, the Digital Learning team have been extremely supportive. During exam time, I was given all the time I needed to work on my university assignments and I have no words to say how grateful I am to my manager and colleagues for having been so sympathetic throughout these busy times.
“Work experience is no longer an optional extra for university students, it’s an essential part of preparing for the graduate job market!”
by Simone Andorlini