Time flies when you’re having fun – Charlie Williams

Charlie Williams is a Manchester Metropolitan University student studying BA(Hons) Sport Marketing Management. She is currently on her Sports Marketing Sandwich Placement year at PUMA.

Winner of the Step Blog Competition 2015


charlie williamsSuddenly I am already 2 months into my placement, I think the famous phrase is ‘Time flies when you’re having fun!’ So, where do I start?! I could bore you with the standard ‘Day 1 – I’m so nervous!’ talk but I want this blog to give you an insight into the nitty gritty of the Monday to Friday, 9-5 job – something that you can relate to in your placement.

It’s natural to be nervous on the first day, and even overwhelmed by the end of the first week. It was certainly a case of information overload for me with all the inductions, 4 different log-in details, the names of about 50 staff, how to brief marketing artwork, how to process a product order, how to send out packages and parcels……to name a few. The one thing that has been the biggest helping hand for me throughout is my notepad. It goes everywhere with me. I am always noting things down, from product codes to artwork measurements, to contacts and ‘to do’ lists, get it down on paper! Similarly with a diary. With this placement in particular I have to attend several meetings, go on store visits or go to the offices in Manchester, Batley and even to offices abroad in Leusden lately, so a diary just makes it that much easier to organise my time around that.

After 3 or 4 weeks I was into the swing of things. I come into the office at 9, load up the laptop and get cracking and can often just work independently throughout the day without having to ask many questions. Questions – don’t be afraid to ask them! For a short time I found myself worrying that I was asking too many questions and distracting my supervisor and colleagues too much. I spoke to other interns and they seemed to be in the same boat so maybe you will be or are too, and when I spoke to other colleagues and close friends and family, the general feedback was ‘Asking questions shows that you want to learn and that you are inquisitive and curious’ and ‘It’s much easier to ask a question first rather than going in blind and making an error and having to correct it’.

Naturally during the last two months I have had ups and downs, thankfully less of the latter. It’s always really pleasing and a massive boost of confidence when your supervisor or other colleagues give praise for a piece of work that you have done. But of course, the job brings its challenges. PUMA UK is purely wholesale and therefore we communicate heavily with our key accounts. I process a large number of products orders and often we don’t have this or that in stock that’s been requested or we can’t get product to a client in time according to the deadlines given so being able to deal with frustrated, disappointed and sometimes angry people and calmly solve the issue with them. I was quick to blame myself for not getting an order delivered on time but the reality was that I did the best I could within the circumstances, and that’s what I had to communicate to the contact or client from our end. In the placement I have seen first-hand the challenges that my colleagues in Marketing, and even Sales face with accounts to get our product into stores and online and to secure marketing opportunities to support the sell-through of product. It’s certainly not easy competing with the giants in the market – Nike and Adidas. At times it’s quite an eye opener, and something you would never ‘learn’ or get an idea of in a lecture theatre or in the depths of textbooks in the library so this placement has been extremely informative, educational and a valuable experience, even only 2 months in. I am extremely excited for what the next 10 months brings.

I owe a huge thank you to Step. Throughout they have been extremely supportive with regular communication, updates and always checking in on how I am getting on in my placement. There is always someone at the end of the phone or an email that is willing to help and answer any questions or queries you have. I really recommend them to anyone looking for roles.

Charlie Williams

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