Since 2016 we have worked with Liverpool John Moores University to provide an intern placement for their Marketing and Business Studies students. Dan was our fifth intern. our sixth, Lauren is already a month into her year long placement. We asked Dan to write something about his year with us and what he had learnt.
Before I even started university, part taking in a placement year in my studies was always a big goal of mine. The increasing popularity, because of how beneficial first-hand experience in an industry is, meant that it was more competitive. I had been searching for a placement year since the start of my second year, to gain real world experience, build my professional networking and learn how a workplace operates. Fast forward to over a year later and today I have successfully completed my placement after securing a year-long Marketing Internship at Bullen Healthcare.
This placement has been a huge eye opener for me and I am overwhelmed at how much I have learnt over this past year. Working for Bullen Healthcare has helped me strive in a fast-paced, business environment where I have learnt so much about the day-to-day operations. I remember arriving at Bullen Healthcare feeling nervous and quite unconfident because of my lack of knowledge about Stoma, or Urology products. I quickly learnt that communicating my struggles, questions, and concerns to my manager, I was able to get the help I needed to complete the task. I realised that it is better to say “I don’t know” or “I don’t understand” rather than make up an answer or just agree with my manager because it allows me to learn, understand, and get the deliverable done effectively and efficiently. The staff at Bullen Healthcare were very welcoming and supportive, where my confidence slowly starting filling.
Expectations versus reality
I feel there is always a difference between expectations and reality. My expectation when starting at Bullen was for me to achieve really high standard of work objectives in a short time and get acknowledged however, during my actual experiences, I realised it was difficult. After my first monthly employee review, I was able to set myself some realistic goals and over the course of this internship I could prove my worth in the workplace through my effort. One thing I learned is how important soft skills are in a business environment. Skills such as communication, ability to work independently, prioritise workload, flexibility and time management. One of the goals I set myself at the start of the placement was to become more flexible in the workplace. Bullen Healthcare thrives off quick decision making and efficiency, which meant I had to be very adaptable and responsive to unexpected demands and changes. I feel that to become more flexible I had to develop my skill set. Bullen Healthcare helped me develop my skill set through the variety of tasks I would take part in on a day to day basis. One minute I could be assisting with the implementation of Merseyside and Region Stoma Service or adding leads onto the CRM and the next I could be sending samples and marketing collaterals out for the sales team. I feel this helped me develop as each task would involve a different skill set and I was able to keep objectives achievable and within reach where I went the extra mile to support colleagues in need of help.
After two months, a member of the already small marketing team left where the work of this individual was delegated between the rest of the marketing team. This was a chance for me to show and develop my skill set. This meant I could now take part in more projects that involved me digging deeper and expanding my skill set. Whilst working on a variety of different projects for Bullen, I have ensured to keep the core company values at the forefront of thinking. I have been part of launching the new prescription service, MARSS, which provides essential stoma products for patients in the Liverpool & Merseyside region. During this time, I have built on my skills of infographics by reporting on customer satisfaction surveys, which have been presented to Clinical Commissioning Groups. I can now confidently navigate; Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft Dynamics GP and EMIS as I have used these CRM’s to manage data for our patients & charities. I have also really enjoyed developing my skills in Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Premier Pro to create an official company event video reflecting on the financial performance of 2021.
Putting ideas into practice
Before starting this role, I had a basic understanding of the fundamentals of marketing, but now I have learned how to manage and report successful campaigns and utilise different social media platforms. I was also given the opportunity to work and report on a new marketing campaign with our partner, Bladder and Bowel Community. Here I designed an automated reporting document that allowed me to track the journey of each lead. Because of the detail I went into on this reporting, it allowed me to see if any of the sales team hadn’t rang of the leads or if some of the calls scheduled were overdue. This resulted in the campaign generating a very successful NPR conversion and orders conversion. This reporting was then used again for a future campaign due to its success. Hard work does not go unnoticed at Bullen Healthcare, where around the halfway mark of my placement experience I was nominated and won employee of the month in December, which is arguably the busiest month for the business. This really motivated me as it showed I was a value to the business.
Over the course of the internship I realised how important relationship management is in the workplace and how being a team player can benefit you. Working closely with the sales, patient plus and cutting team has helped me build much closer and stronger relationships with staff members. This highlighted the importance of the marketing role as it let me truly see the journey of a marketing campaign. I really benefitted from taking part in the hiring interviews to find the next placement student to take over from me. I started by adding my part about my experience and asked a couple of questions myself, I was then encouraged by Steve to lead and take charge in a few interviews myself. I really profited from this experience as it allowed me to see the decision making process at the interview stage for employers, where there was key points for me to take on board and apply to my interviews when applying for graduate jobs.
Overall, I have really enjoyed my experience working with the marketing team and I have taken away a lot of new skills that I can now apply in my final year of my degree. Everyone has been very supportive and I can’t thank everyone enough for making my experience so beneficial. Unfortunately, the Bullen employees will have to put up with me for another year as I will continue work here part-time as I continue my studies. There also seems to be a trend that every intern at Bullen Healthcare has gone on to achieve a First-Class Honours in their final year, so I hope to continue this legacy. No Pressure!