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Global Opportunities internship my future Virtual internships

Inside my Digital Marketing Internship

Miriam O’Reilly, 19, a second year BSc Business Management with Placement student at Queen’s joined our ‘Working Globally from NI’ programme, and secured a position as Brand & Marketing Intern with MCS Group, a Specialist Recruitment Consultancy headquartered in Belfast. Here is how she got on.

The recruitment process

Throughout the academic year amid intense COVID-19 restrictions, the idea of securing a summer internship itself felt like a far-away and unrealistic dream, let alone one which was both in-person and focused on working on a global-scale. In late March, while checking out the Queen’s MyFuture platform, I stumbled across some of the opportunities being advertised by the Queen’s Global Opportunities Team. As a Business Management student and having taken a module in marketing, I was particularly drawn to this position of ‘Brand & Marketing Intern.’ Upon further research on MCS Group, I was even more excited by this opportunity, largely due to its very evident people-focused culture. 

After initially sending off my CV and Cover Letter, I was elated when MCS invited me to an interview. The interview itself was enough to convince me that MCS would be great to work for. Louise Smyth, one of the Managing Directors at MCS, took more of a personal approach in the interview, making conversation more about my experience in working in my local corner shop, my past experiences as a musician, what I do as a course rep and what I’d learned in my course so far, rather than the formal ‘professional experience’ as often expected. I was grateful for this, especially as a first-year student, as it allowed me to display the interpersonal skills I have gained through ‘non-professional experience’, which would present my potential and suit to the role. I was so excited to find out that I’d secured the position! This was alongside another Queen’s Business Management student, Ellen, who is going into her final year.

Digital marketing post-Covid

From the first day at MCS, I was guided and coached by the Marketing Executive, Martin. He explained what MCS do and how our role as marketers plays a key role in the success of the company. He emphasised the importance of the digital side of marketing, which has increased significantly within the past 18 months, and this became the primary focus of my duties over the period of the internship. Despite the fact I was fortunately able to work in the modern, sleek MCS office in Belfast City Centre, many of the staff were working from home a few days of the week due to social distancing regulations. In addition, the main communication channel between MCS and potential candidates is via social media and the MCS website. This meant that digital marketing was taking centre stage. 

What did the role involve?

At MCS I was given a lot of creative freedom and responsibility, and I feel very honoured that I was trusted with the brand name. Over the course of the internship, alongside the marketing team and fellow intern, I launched a successful company Tik Tok page and helped to revitalise elements of their Instagram page. I also ‘learnt the ropes’ of LinkedIn and was taught how to create engaging and informative content on various digital platforms. This included an element of planning and strategy, as the MCS brand image and mission had to be at the forefront of our minds at all times. This was especially important as the company are continually expanding, with an increasing presence in the US market. The content that was posted had to ensure inclusivity on an international scale and establish MCS as a global-focused company. An example of a global project we were involved in was the creation of a ‘candidate package’, informing potential US candidates on the perks of working for a very prominent UK online fashion company. 

Understanding the business

Alongside the content creation itself, Martin and the rest of the marketing team taught me so much about ‘the business side’ of the work we were doing, and how we can use analytics to track our success and present the value of our work. This encouraged me to take a ‘Google Digital Garage’ course called ‘The Fundamentals of Digital Marketing’, which helped to foreground what I’d learned over the course of my internship at MCS. These are transferable and invaluable skills which I hope to use over the course of the rest of my degree and placement year. In addition to all of this, being able to speak to other staff members about their career journey and educational backgrounds was really informative and eye-opening, especially with their vast knowledge on recruitment. The internship reinforced my view on the importance of work experience alongside academic study, as I believe this is just as vital a learning tool. 

Becoming part of the team

Outside the office, MCS prioritised including and involving me in company events. On my first week, we had an ‘end of quarter’ gathering at ‘Let’s Go Hydro’, where I got to meet all the staff and feel as though I was a part of the company. Between coffee trips, lunches out and shopping vouchers, it felt as though MCS really valued and encouraged its interns and has proven itself to be a great company to work for. I am so grateful to the Queen’s Global Opportunities Team and MCS Group for this opportunity and I’m excited to see what doors this experience may open as I start to apply for positions in my placement year. 

Interested in an internship? Search current opportunities in MyFuture.
Find more information on Global Opportunities at Queen’s here.

*Featured image posed by model

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Global Opportunities international experience MEDIA Programme Networking Think Pacific Virtual internships

Making a Difference from Home – My Virtual Internship Experience

Daniella Timperley is a 2nd year student at Queen’s and a blogger from our MEDIA programme. She recently completed a virtual internship with Think Pacific – a volunteering organisation working with remote villages in Fiji. Here is how she got on.

The Think Pacific Virtual Internship was the answer to getting my international fix in the midst of the pandemic. My expedition to Fiji was cancelled so I took on a 12-week internship which provided me with the opportunity to still make a difference in Fiji and more importantly learn about the Fijian culture. I was very fortunate to receive a full scholarship for the internship from Think Pacific.

A personal highlight…

Before you even get started on your internship, you are immediately welcomed into the Think Pacific family and immersed into a community of highly motivated change-makers who are ready to make their mark in Fiji. Some stand out moments during my time on the internship was definitely grabbing a virtual tea or coffee with another intern and getting to know all about them and their goals. Other interns aren’t the only people in this online community that are committed to making you feel welcome on the internship, you will also be assigned a Think Pacific mentor that will be available to answer any questions you have and also guide you when you are creating your action project. A personal highlight of mine was my mentor calls with Cam. I loved sharing my ideas for my action project and Cam bounced off of my passion for my project and was extremely encouraging. Also Monday briefings with Cam and Katherine was a personal favourite moment each week on the internship. This feeling of being surrounded with support from the Think Pacific family definitely fuels inspiration and motivation to continue to make a difference. 

Learning a new culture…

The discovery phase of the internship is the first of four phases, but it is the most fascinating. In order to be able to make a sustainable impact in Fiji through your action project, you need to understand the people, the culture and their way of life before coming up with a project that can be put into action in Fiji. The discovery phase covers everything from understanding the complex term ‘vanua’, learning some of the Fijian language, getting an idea of the gender roles in Fijian society, getting to grips with the sustainable development goals and so much more. It is really hard to be able to make a difference in a country you know nothing about, but this phase really breaks down everything you need to know to become familiar with the country and help you to feel connected to Fiji. During the discovery phase I set 3 goals that I wanted to achieve throughout the course of my internship; my personal goal, my professional goal and my contribution goal. My goals are as follows:

1. I personally want to enjoy learning about the Fijian culture and in particular Gender Equality and Women’s role in society in Fiji. 

2. I want to boost my network by taking part in one virtual coffee every week with other interns in my field.

3. I will learn 7 modules per week during the discovery phase.

Making the most of the experience…

As you go through the different phases of the internship, you can explore as much as you like. If you are an international development intern, you can still learn all about global health or mental health so the possibilities and learning opportunities are endless. I personally loved looking through all the different organisations and action projects available. There are so many sports organisations, NGO’s and businesses in Fiji that you can choose to partner with. I partnered with FemLINK Pacific to create an awareness campaign for violence against women. I have been campaigning against violence against women for over 7 years but doing this in a different country, especially a developing country like Fiji was a challenge. I embraced the challenge and proposed an international campaign that still takes place in many countries across the world that encourages men to never commit, condone or remain silent about abuse against women. I have created a manual about the campaign and how it can be implemented in Fiji as well as social media posts that FemLINK Pacific can use to promote the campaign. So, I would recommend choosing a project you are passionate about but that will challenge you as I can say from experience you will get the most out of the internship and learn a lot about yourself.

Keep an eye on our events page for more virtual internship opportunities or contact our Global Opportunities team for information on work or study abroad opportunities.