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.
*Featured image posed by model