McCann Birmingham is part of the world’s largest advertising and communications network, McCann Worldgroup. McCann was founded 100 years ago and now has over 200 offices in 130 countries worldwide. McCann has helped create some of marketing’s most memorable and iconic campaigns such as L’Oréal ‘Because You’re Worth it’, The Milky Bar Kid and the Coca-Cola Santa.

Philippa High, a second year English Language student, secured a two week placement at McCann, an advertising and communications agency, based in Solihull, Birmingham. We spoke to Philippa and her supervisor, Madeleine Birch, about how she found the experience.

I first became interested in McCann when they visited campus to talk at a Careers Network event. I applied for this position last summer, but was unsuccessful. I secured other PR work experience and became a student ambassador at the university and I feel that this strengthened my application this summer as it showed my initiative and dedication.

During my work experience I have been writing press releases and contacting journalists. I was really pleased that my story was picked up by an industry magazine. The office environment is really nice. It is professional and friendly.

I have developed a lot of skills such as initiative, thinking on my feet and working with new people. I have also learnt how to talk to journalists. I have really enjoyed the experience and have become more interested in PR although I am keeping my options open.

Don’t put all your efforts into one position – apply to a few so that you have a choice. Contact small firms and start-ups and work your way up; you can’t expect to start at the top! Work experience is the best way to find out if you really like a company and if it is the right career for you to pursue.

I would advise people to apply for a range of work experience.

Philippa, like all our work experience students this year, has fitted in really well. We treat our students like junior executives and provide them with a real range of tasks.

Work experience is good for the students as they can gain hands-on experience in a thriving PR environment. It is also good for us as we can spot the stars of the future. Some students, who have shown aptitude and interest, have subsequently been offered positions as full-time employees.

Try to stand out when writing applications. As well as a relevant degree, we are looking for other relevant experiences and hobbies. We look for people who have a spark.

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