Adam Mulley, a third year BSc Management student, discusses his placement year at Samsung, from attending international business trips to meeting a whole new network of colleagues and friends.
I have almost finished my 54-week placement at Samsung Electronics in their Chertsey office on the outskirts of London. It is known as one of the largest global consumer electronics companies and the leading smartphone manufacturer. In this blog, I am going to share some of my experiences in gaining and undertaking a placement year at Samsung during the third year of my BSc Management course at Warwick Business School.
I wanted to complete a placement year first and foremost to gain valuable experience that will help me when I graduate. In addition to this, I wanted to see what it would be like to work in a particular role, in a particular industry, and use this to gauge which direction I want my future career to take. In preparation for applying for my placement year with Samsung, I used the services of the WBS CareersPlus team tirelessly by attending careers workshops, one-to-one meetings with a dedicated careers coach, and I also used the online CV tools which were all invaluable to me in gaining my placement with Samsung.
I would recommend that all future students apply for placements, and my two biggest tips would be:
- Apply early
Start applying for placements in September and try to have most of your applications submitted before December. Some companies will keep applications open even though they have filled all the available placement year roles, and they will leave you waiting until spring without reviewing your application just in case they have any candidates that decide to back out. Therefore, if you apply early this avoids you playing the waiting game.
- Quality and quantity
Apply to as many companies as possible so you have a few back up options in case your placement doesn’t pan out, which may not be through any fault of your own. You may find that you are unable to attend an assessment centre, the role may be different to what was advertised, or the location of the placement may not be viable for you or may be changed last minute. I ended up applying to 15 different companies; for each application, it is important to amend your CV and cover letter, focusing on the specific role requirements and the skills that you have. Time, effort, and research must go into every application to ensure you stand out from the crowd.
My role at Samsung sits within the Product Support team in the Customer Experience department. I support in the creation and distribution of technical training content to Samsung Engineers across the country and support colleagues in managing complex HQ driven expectations and performance indicators. I have really enjoyed having such a wide remit, as I have been involved with all product groups from Mobile Phones to Television and Home Appliances.
A key experience I have had during my placement was being entrusted to represent the UK subsidiary on business trips. Most recently, I visited Samsung Electronics Czech Republic (SECZ) in Prague where I attended a systems workshop and met with a wide variety of colleagues from across Europe. This experience really helped me to develop my networking and discussion skills. Following the trip, I was given the task of adapting workshop actions to implement in the UK’s service network which was a great challenge. I also had the opportunity to present on my own in front of 70 leaders from different business partners which was really invigorating and strengthened my presentation skills. I believe that my data analysis, critical and analytical thinking are the skills I have developed the most during my placement year, as I have learnt that there are multiple effects to every action and the key is to find the right balance between them. I believe that the development of these pivotal skills will be beneficial to me as I begin my final year at WBS.
The social side to a placement year is not so dissimilar to my experience at WBS, particularly in a large company with lots of other students on placement years or graduate schemes. There were regular social events amongst everyone, and even events organised by Samsung such as a Christmas Party at the Warner Bros studio tour. I was lucky enough to live with other students who were on placement with Samsung which was a great experience to be able to offer each other advice and learn about the ins and outs of the company from each other. Knowing lots of other students at Samsung who are on a placement year or have been successful in gaining a place on a graduate scheme, makes you a valuable asset within your team as you are able to build up a great network of contacts from every corner of the company.
I would definitely recommend a placement year to all future students, and I wholeheartedly believe that finding any future work such as a graduate role will now be a lot easier for me from my experience at Samsung. A benefit to completing a year-long placement is that it enables you to delve deeper into a professional organisation and gain a great array of opportunities such as travelling abroad which you wouldn’t be able to do with a shorter internship.
During my final year at WBS, I will be re-applying to Samsung and other large tech companies as I believe that these big brands can provide me with the rich and varied experiences I am looking for. Culture wise I am looking to move away from the daily suits and silent offices, and join a company which is innovative and engaging to enable me to pursue my career aspirations. The overall benefits of a placement year far outweigh the negatives, and as I come to an end of my placement year at Samsung I have absolutely no regrets. Samsung’s slogan is ‘Do what you can’t’ and I believe this is a great attitude to have when you begin any work experience or start any new challenge or opportunity available to you.
Every WBS Undergraduate* has the opportunity to take a placement year during their studies, if you would like to find out more about our courses on offer, download our Undergraduate brochure.