Earlier this year I was really pleased to welcome Sam and Carla from Bath Spa University as Ideally’s first interns.
But what does it mean to be a Junior Strategist – and what even is a creative strategy consultancy? And how can a second year media & communications or psychology & business studies student both learn from and contribute to a one-person start-up?
Over to the interns themselves to explain…
On my first day at Ideally in January this year, my fellow intern Carla and I were made to feel very welcome by Ally, who gave us an induction detailing what the business was about and its core values.
Our first month consisted of mostly background research and scoping the market for a syndicated Development Digest that Ideally is developing. It was great to also be able carry out some work directly for a client and feel like we were making a contribution to the success of their company, as well as Ideally.
In February, Ideally landed a new project, putting together a workshop for a big independent production company. This gave Carla and I lots of work to do, getting under the skin of the topic and providing key sources and information for Ally to base the workshop on.
Meanwhile, our work on the Development Digest continued as we began choosing and categorising relevant sources for development stimulus into an easy and accessible format. From that, we then created the pilot of the product and it was brilliant to see all our hard work coming together! I feel very proud to have been a part of creating the Development Digest, a special magazine-like report intended for creative teams to use as a stimulus to generate ideas.
As the placement drew to an end, Ally was kind enough to invite me to join her in a workshop to support the strategy for a local children’s charity which run a nursery for children with special needs as well as those without. They do some fantastic work and really make a massive difference to people’s lives!
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my placement at Ideally Consulting and am sad it has come to an end. It’s been a fantastic opportunity and has taught me key skills to take into later life.
I started my morning commute on Friday 8 January feeling both excited and apprehensive of what the day would bring. I had met with Ally and Sam just before Christmas so I knew they were both going to be easy to work alongside. We were based at The Guild o-working hub in Bath, which is a very relaxed environment filled with creative-minded people. It was the perfect setting.
Ally’s main goal was to set up the Development Digest, a syndicated product that would provide insight for creative teams. As part of our interview, we had to create a mini prototype version of the product she hoped to develop. Usually, I like to work with as much instruction as possible so I have a clear idea of the end goal but the instructions were quite broad which proved somewhat of a challenge to me. But this task allowed me to have my own creative reign and by doing this, I had a better understanding of what it was Ally hoped to develop.
Our first task was to gather a list of resources that offered a similar service to the one we were hoping to develop. Ally gave us a list to get us started with a few possible sources. It was then our job to research into potential competitors to see what kind of service they offered and at what price. We worked on this over the coming weeks and developed a more structured approach to the produce.
As well as developing the Development Digest, we worked on projects that clients had commissioned Ally to work on. It was our job to take notes at meetings and research topics relating to upcoming projects and workshops.
Without a doubt, the highlight of my time at Ideally was accompanying Ally at a meeting in London with a production company, who were hoping to spark ideas for TV programmes within a particular topic. It was at that point that I knew I was heading down the right career path. Sam and I did a vast amount of research in the weeks leading up to the meeting in preparation for the workshop Ally was giving. The day was a success and Ally even allowed me to talk through a portion of the presentation! One of the skills I had hoped to improve whilst on placement was my presentation skills and I believe that with Ally’s help, I have managed to do so. Even though I was unaware that I would be presenting, I took it all on board and felt completely comfortable doing so. I believe that the reason I felt so at ease is due to a number of factors. Firstly, I had been assured I was following the right career path. I was in my element and didn’t want the day to end, there was no way I’d feel nervous when I was so excited. Secondly, Ally has such a positive approach to her work that it had made everyone in the room feel relaxed. Lastly, Sam and I had done a lot of research about the topic in the weeks leading up to the presentation. Being well prepared meant that I could contribute my thoughts whilst they were brainstorming.
Our final week came around much quicker than I expected and it was our job to create a pilot version of the Development Digest. Ally let us work at our own pace, and we discussed amongst ourselves who would do what. At the start of my placement I would have panicked with such little instruction but now I have adapted myself to work independently under broader remits.
I have loved my time at Ideally and have taken so much from my experience. I couldn’t have hoped for my placement to go any better and feel I have gained some valuable skills that will be useful to me in my career in the media industry. I cannot thank Ally enough for a brilliant time and especially for allowing me to accompany her to London – it is without a doubt an experience I will keep with me forever.
It’s been fantastic to have Sam and Carla along for the ride these last few months. Two things that make starting your own consultancy hard; the risk of professional lonliness and isolation, and the inability to carve out time and space for business development as you (hopefully) deal with the volume of direct client work. Well, they helped me with both – for which I will be eternally grateful.
I’m so pleased to hear that they feel their placement has given them skills and confidence which they intend to take into their future careers; that was exactly the plan. I don’t envy either of them, facing the highly competitive working world with the pressure and debt that higher education brings with it. But both Sam and Carla are testimony to the fact that the myth of lazy students and overly-entitled, unmotivated, fame-seeking young people is just that – a myth. They of course, taught me much. Mainly about YouTube and social media and the reality of millennial living. Also, they tried to convince me that Stevie Wonder isn’t actually blind and it’s all a conspiracy. Hopefully, if there’s anything they learnt from me, it’s to always interrogate your sources. And not believe everything you read on the internet.
I’m so pleased to have been a part of their journey, and look forward to the day when one or both of them offers me some work in the not too distant future…