Gaining real-world work experience with Differentiated
I’m Lucie, a 16-year-old student and recently I have spent time at the Differentiated office to gain some work experience.
When I began looking for work experience, I started with what I was interested in: business. I studied business at GCSE and am currently studying it at A-level, but I had no idea how business applied to the real world, and therefore I also had no idea what style of business I would be interested in. Based on this, I decided I want to get into an office, in the hope that I could have a nose around each department while I worked.
I reached out to my cousin, Jade, who I knew worked for Differentiated. Work experience is hard to find, and very few businesses are willing to give up precious company time to take on a work experience student. I didn’t even expect to get a placement, as was unfortunately the case for many of my friends who reached out to 10+ companies without any luck.
I couldn’t have been more wrong in these expectations. Shortly after Jade informed me that her director, Lenka, had agreed to take me on, I had a call scheduled with her to discuss the details. She explained how she wanted to organise a timetable for me and began asking me about my interests and what I would like to see on this timetable.
When I viewed this timetable on the first day, it was more than I could’ve asked for. I had the opportunity to meet copywriters and account managers, I had various calls and meetings to shadow, tasks of my own to complete, and three hours scheduled in with Lenka herself across the days.
I began the day with a two hour discussion with Lenka. I was honestly terrified as it was so far from anything I had ever done before. I had no idea what we would talk about for 2 hours. As it turns out, we spoke for two and a half hours! She greeted me in a friendly and open manner, which was reassuring to see that she was just as nice in person as she was on the phone. We discussed so much, and I would say this was one of the most valuable conversations I have ever had. We discussed a variety of topics, including:
- The difference between agencies and large businesses
- Why agencies exist and why big companies may choose to use them
- The structure at Differentiated
- The roles within Differentiated
- How finance is managed
- The importance of relationship building as a marketing agency
It really gave me insight into the way the company works, and I learned so much more than I could in a classroom. It was useful for me to hear the manner in which people spoke and to hear lots of the terminology I had heard in school come to play in the real world.
After this, I had the opportunity to meet Senior Account Manager, Ally. We discussed what she does within her role, the projects she is currently working on, the advantages of working in an agency and her journey to account management. I found her journey to account management very interesting as she started her career in a mortgage company and then moved into marketing and account management. I had associated these with entirely different skill sets, and this led onto the topic of transferable skills in business. This was very good news for me and gave me peace of mind that it was okay to not know what I want to do immediately.
On my second day, I began my first research task. I was researching on LinkedIn to find useful contact points within two businesses.
I then met Abby, one of Differentiated’s copywriters. We discussed her role, how you can make yourself valuable and appealing to businesses, what it’s like to work from home and the importance of enjoying your job. I really liked her way of thinking and admired her for her openness to opportunity, friendliness, confidence and her ability to learn and adjust.
I joined another call to brief a copywriter, Richard, and spent the rest of the day completing social media research to help support Differentiated’s own marketing efforts.
On my final day, I began by continuing with my social media research. I joined a studio scheduling call where I gained insight into how to organise and rearrange freelancers and in-house resources to suit the businesses requirements and to not disrupt the freelancers’ style of working.
My final activities of the day were writing up the post you are reading now and seeing Lenka for one last discussion. It was scheduled for an hour, but again Lenka was generous enough to allow overtime and we talked for two hours. I asked her about operations in Differentiated and she went into full detail about time sheets, rate cards and other processes. I hadn’t been taught any of this in school and I am grateful to say I left the session with my mind packed of new, applicable information from a professional.
A big thank you to everyone at Differentiated
“The experiences and education I have received from Lenka and the team has been priceless. I cannot thank Differentiated enough. Everybody I met has been friendly, approachable and welcoming. Differentiated have a diverse team filled with colourful personalities and I have enjoyed meeting each individual.”
This is the most confident review I have ever written, due to the fact that I truly believe they are a caring, progressive, realistic and client-focused company. I have nothing but high praise for them, not only for taking me on despite their fast-paced and busy environment, but also because I think their outlook, approach and ethics are on point. It has made me more confident about the style of career I want in the future, and I would feel fortunate to work in a place similar to Differentiated.