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Career Focus: Natalie’s Marketing internship

I’m Natalie and I’m from Malaysia. I studied a degree preparation course at the University of Nottingham International College and progressed to a bachelor’s degree in Law at the University of Nottingham.
I’m a Student Ambassador for Kaplan and I was given the opportunity to do an internship at their Head Office in London. It has been a highlight of my study abroad journey and I want to tell you all about it!

Understanding how a Marketing team works

I did not really think much when I applied for the intern position. I just remember being extremely grateful when it was offered to me. The role was within the Marketing department, so I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to learn new skills since it is different from my field of study. And I was right — I’ve gained so many unexpected skills during this experience!

Before my internship, I always thought that the teams in a Marketing department were small. I was expecting a team of two, with one person in charge of designing and another managing social media platforms. But, oh, was I wrong!
There are so many teams, some of which I had never heard of before (Product Marketing and the Campaigns teams, I’m looking at you!). Since I am currently a Law student, I have only dabbled in Marketing from my time volunteering as a Student Ambassador, and most of the people I had spoken to before were from the Social Media team.
During my internship I came to understand that all the teams work independently of one another but come together to work on certain projects. One example of this is the Student Ambassador vlogs I film: I always wondered who turned all of my snippets into the final video. It turns out that after I pass my video clips to the Social Media team, the Video team edits it into a proper vlog and then the Editorial team adds the subtitles.
So, being able to rotate between these teams and meet the people in charge of making my vlogs come to life really made me realise the amount of effort and co-ordination it takes to publish each piece of content.

Skills I’ve developed from working remotely

I surprised myself by how quickly I was able to pick up skills I had never done before. For example, I collected ads data for the Campaigns team, proofread and provided feedback on digital brochures, and helped design a landing page! I felt proud that I was able to do all this even though I was working remotely.
In addition, I had the chance to enhance skills that I already learnt during my Law degree, such as copywriting — I wrote an article about international food in Nottingham for the Editorial team.
I really appreciated how working in lots of different teams meant I had a wide variety of tasks. Some areas of Marketing were inherently tougher with a steeper learning curve, but I got a lot out of working with each team.

“My internship helped me build my self-confidence and learn more about my work habits”

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My internship helped me build my self-confidence and learn more about my work habits. It may seem trivial to notice little things about the way you work, but I think it can have a big impact on your future career journey. I think it will be useful to take what I’ve learnt about myself and transfer it to any job I have in the future.

What I’ve learnt from working in person

While I did most of my internship remotely, I did also have the lovely opportunity to travel down to London and work at Kaplan’s office. It was definitely a refreshing experience because it was more like a fun workspace instead of a traditional office.
What I found unique about their work setting is how it is done in a hybrid manner, with staff only travelling to the workspace two days a week. It might be due to cultural difference as an international student, but this really surprised me. I also loved how laid-back and inspiring everyone I met was!
I had the chance to travel to Liverpool with the Video team to gather footage, photos and other content to showcase this amazing city, which I had never visited before. It was very insightful to see how a trip like this is planned and executed, and it was so fun meeting University of Liverpool students.
During my internship, I met so many individuals who are unique each in their own way due to the background they come from. However, a common theme I picked up on was how supportive and inspiring everyone was. It definitely set a standard for the type of environment I would like to work in in the future.
Most importantly, the entire internship experience reminded me why I chose to study abroad in the first place. It was a reminder of why I push myself out of my comfort zone and why I persevered through all the tough times — it’s all got me to where I am now.

My advice

To wrap things up, I want to say that it’s common for us students to be unsure about what we would like to do in the future. I think this feeling is multiplied if you’re an international student, and this can make it easy to feel inferior and avoid taking the next step forward.
That’s why I’m glad I did this internship! It has helped me realise what I would like to achieve in the future. I may still be an international student for the time being, but this experience gave me an unexpected opportunity to gain new skills, meet people who inspired me and, ultimately, learn about myself.  
So, to anyone who is looking at internship opportunities and has found one that could be the right fit for you, my advice would be to take it. You have nothing to lose!

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