Undergraduate Careers Coach, Comfort shares her advice for making the most of your spring vacation.
Discover how undergraduate student Jane secured an internship at Gymshark, utilising her creative and analytical skills as a customer insight intern to understand key customer trends and behaviours.
I am a BSc Management student at WBS, and at the end of my first year I decided I wanted to complete a placement as a part of my degree. I had just completed a summer internship through WSI and realised how valuable a placement year would be to further develop my skill set. So nearly two years on, here I am completing my placement year with Gymshark as a customer insight intern.
The two things I knew before applying for a placement were that I wanted to find a role which played on my creative and analytical skills and that I wanted to work within a company and an industry I was passionate about. Gymshark was at the forefront of my mind when I started looking into companies because when scrolling through their LinkedIn, I felt the culture and ways of working really reflected what I valued. At that time Gymshark weren’t advertising any internship roles, but I didn’t let that put me off. I approached my Marketing lecturer, for some advice and she pointed me towards the WBS CareersPlus team as well as putting me in contact with a past student who was working at Gymshark. Speaking to someone within Gymshark was incredibly helpful as I was able to ask questions about the different teams there and get an idea of what roles would interest me. When Gymshark posted their internship roles in November I scrolled through numerous job descriptions and discovered the customer insight role, which caught my immediate interest.
To start the application process, I submitted my CV which I had developed by attending a CV workshop held by the WBS CareersPlus team. This was really useful as it highlighted the dos and don’ts of CV writing and allowed me to ask some questions specific to my application. In February, I received the news I had reached the next stage in the application process and was given a time and date for a phone interview. I was nervous about the call due to potential technical difficulties and interruptions. Thankfully, WBS careers service offered bookable rooms to conduct telephone interviews in so I felt really calm and comfortable during the call. At the beginning of March, I received an email inviting me to an assessment centre, and a few days later an email followed with an outline of what the day would look like. In preparation for the day I made use of online resources provided by the careers team, it was helpful to learn a little more about what to expect and effectively equip myself for the day. A few days after the assessment centre I got some good news - I'd progressed to the final stage which involved an interview and presentation. Then a couple of weeks after visiting the Gymshark offices I got a call offering me the placement, which I accepted with a huge smile on my face!
As I write this, I’m just two weeks from my last day at Gymshark, so I find myself reflecting on the past year. Looking back, I’ve definitely had the best year I could have ever hoped for! As a customer insight intern my role is focused on two things - ‘what’ and ‘why’.
- The ‘what’ involves understanding key trends observed across our customer base. I report key customer metrics to the business and deliver insight on customer behaviour which is often done through dashboards. So, learning how to use both Alteryx and Tableau to manipulate, analyse and visualise data has been a focus during my placement.
- The ‘why’ involves determining the reasons behind certain customer trends and behaviours. To uncover these reasons, we carry out research in the form of surveys and forums. We want to understand the wants and needs of our customers to ensure we offer the best possible customer journey.
Both the ‘what’ and ‘why’ have required me to analyse data and information to present back key insights to relevant teams in a concise and impactful way.
During my time at Gymshark I got involved in a number of projects which have given me a great overview of how the whole company works. Within Gymshark I’ve had many opportunities to co-lead influential projects, such as ‘Lifecycle Reporting’. This project involved monitoring customers last purchases and interactions with us and analysing key changes in customer behaviours month by month. As a result of analysis, we proposed strategies to teams across the business all to: encourage customers to repurchase, retain our most valuable customers and acquire new customers. This has been a really rewarding project as I worked on and watched it grow from day one.
The analysis and research skills I needed for my role were definitely developed through essay and report writing for my WBS modules, this gave me a great starting point for my role within customer insight. I’ve also utilised knowledge gained through marketing and digital business modules within my work, and I’ve found that group work really helped prepare me for my role as I’ve worked on many collaborative projects working alongside other key stakeholders in the business.
My placement year at Gymshark has equipped me with valuable skills in analytics and research for which I’m thankful to my teams continuous coaching and support. With this experience I feel I have greatly improved my employability prospects for post-graduation. In years to come when I reflect on my time at WBS I know that my placement year will be a huge highlight, as it has been a key development period for me. Unsurprisingly, I’d fully advise any undergraduate who is thinking of a placement to go for it (whether it’s summer internship, a year placement or both)!
A few tips I would give would be:
- Don’t just apply to loads of random companies, but instead do your research – put effort into applications for companies you could see yourself working for, consider their values and ways of working.
- Make use of every resource the CareersPlus team has to offer. They have all the tools you need to keep on top of your application and help you achieve your dream placement.
- During your placement really give it your all! This is a chance to learn and even make mistakes. You’ll grow so much if you push yourself out of your comfort zone.
Placement applications are undeniably stressful, but it is definitely a worthwhile experience and will set you up with an invaluable skill set needed post-graduation. You may also leave with some incredible friends and memories like I know I will be.
Discover more about our BSc Management course and our placement year opportunities in our undergraduate brochure.