How to Land a Grad Job Part I: the traditional summer internship route (Nestlé)

Jennifer Rose Hammond, Nestlé Sales Graduate

As all Arts students know, there comes a point in your degree when you finally have to think about what career your degree can be applied towards. We all hope we’ll have figured it out by our final year. However, no matter how little or how much career preparation you’ve done, on the first day of final year, the notion that the real world is really about to come knocking, will still hit you like a ton of bricks.

However, third-year History and Politics student, Jennifer Rose Hammond, shows that this conundrum can be avoided after landing a graduate sales job following her summer internship at Nestlé.

Jenni, so firstly when did you seriously start thinking about what you want to do after leaving York?
The beginning of second year – I was made aware by the department that internships were available and I kind of just saw it as I was in my second year so I had the time to apply for internships.

At that point, did you know what you wanted to do?
Well what happened was my housemate asked if I wanted to take part in a York Entrepreneurs Challenge called ‘the Market’. I joined a team and one of our tasks was to come up with an idea for a new product for Nestlé and pitch it to them. We also had to pitch a cocktail idea to Monty’s and I just loved coming up with all the ideas, coming up with the presentation, and pitching it to them. I thought I want to do something like this, so then I looked into Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) firms.

So you decided you wanted to try to get an FMCG internship in the summer – how many places did you apply to?
John Lewis and Nestlé were the two. At home (the summer before second year) I really put a lot of work into the John Lewis one. (Following a Careers Service lady reading it) I submitted it and I did some character tests and I just got rejected.

And you know the psychometric tests can be quite demoralising…
Yeah, it was an online one and literally it was about me as a person, I wouldn’t even call it a psychometric test. And it was like ‘you’re not matched to John Lewis’. And I thought that’s a bit depressing, like my personality isn’t good enough.

I thought about applying for BP and then I got that rejection from John Lewis so I thought I’m not going to bother with the BP one.

It was to do with marketing and I was like ‘oh, I’m not going to bother, I’m not a ‘sciencey’ person – if I couldn’t get through John Lewis, I’m not going to get through that.’ So I focused on the Nestlé one and really put everything into it.

And when did you hear back from Nestlé?
I submitted it not long before Christmas and then I didn’t hear anything till just before Easter.

Did you know how many applicants they had for internships and how many they were offering?
No. I know they’d normally offered four internships but because of the number of applicants, they ended up offering seven.

What was your role?

Basically, it was project based – we were each assigned a different manager so my manager was in charge of sales for Asda – he sells all the chocolate to Asda.

Pretty good job.
Yeah. I was looking at how Nestlé could launch their new products into Asda, and basically coming up with a blueprint, a path they could do every time – I had to do a lot of research, talk to a lot of people, and they were really big on me getting to know the company, understanding if I wanted to work there and getting to know the products. I then had to pitch my solution to the company.

Was the internship very structured?
No. I definitely had my own ownership over my project and I sat with everyone so I was constantly talking about it – we had like four meetings every week.

To be continued…

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