Kristen Hall – BA (Hons) Design Management and Cultures
Kristen is studying BA (Hons) Design Management and Cultures at London College of Communication. She was recently selected for a work placement at M&C Saatchi and talks to us about her experience with one of the world's largest international advertising agency networks.
About your placement at M&C Saatchi
Tell us a little about why you selected M&C Saatchi - what was it about them as a company and/or their work that resonated with you?
To be honest I didn’t know M&C Saatchi existed until a few weeks before I applied for the placement. My first contact with the company was when CEO David Kershaw came to hold a lecture about M&C Saatchi and advertising for our Design Management unit. Later, when my tutor presented the opportunity to apply for the placement I thought it was something I would love to have a go at. I’m a sucker for writing cover letters and challenging myself, hence I didn’t hesitate to apply.
Once I started researching the company and hearing David Kershaw talking about it, it seemed like a fantastic place to intern at. I was attracted to their size (having offices worldwide) and slogan (‘brutal simplicity of thought’).
Please can you describe the application and interview process? Was it lengthy and process-driven or natural and speedy?
For me the application process was a speedy and enjoyable affair. A week after I had submitted my application I was called to an interview and the following week I got the message I had been given a 2-week placement.
How have your days been spent at M&C Saatchi and have you had a chance to work directly with staff?
My days at M&C Saatchi have been very varied in terms of work load, who I worked with and what I did. I was mostly stationed at the head office in 36 Golden Square, though I visited almost all other offices that were scattered in the Soho area. Other days I was on a photoshoot, sourcing products at Primark and assisting copywriters in Shoreditch House. Or mingling at the M&C Saatchi 20th Anniversary event at the Science Museum.
Have you been surprised in any way by the company/nature of work/processes or is everything as you expected it to be?
Quite so. It was made clear from the first day that I wasn’t here to make coffee and tea for everyone. I was welcomed as an asset to the agency and I could turn this experience into anything I would like. I was surprised by the importance of the work I did, that it was actually useful and used. Also, I hadn’t really expected everyone to be as friendly as they were.
How easy has it been for you to ingratiate yourself with your surrounds – was there an induction or other students on hand who were helpful?
It was quite full-on, I was given a short view of the office and then assigned a workplace. It was up to me to find work and make myself known to the others, although everyone was very open and welcoming. Since I was looking to grasp the opportunities within an agency, which was a new environment to me, I emailed a few people in positions I found interesting and asked if we could have a coffee and a chat. All responded positively and many coffees were consumed.
What are three lessons you’ve taken from your placement that you can apply to further studying and your future career?
- Take part, nothing will be given to you
- Continue to push yourself outside your comfort zone
- Be authentic
About your course/work
What prompted you to study BA (Hons) Design Management and Cultures?
It seamed to combine both a managerial and creative aspect of the creative industries which was exactly what I was looking for.
Where are you from in the world and how has this influenced your work/art?
I am from Sweden and the Nordic minimalism and mindset has become even more evident since my move to London. It seems like I’m being caught up between my culturally conditioned minimalism and the minimalism and extravaganza I strive for. Clean white surfaces meet pink fluffy clouds.
Tell us about your future plans and ambitions
I want to be a professional mingler. I want to work with getting the most out of people, creatively. I aim for fabulousness and to work with something I feel passionate about.
About LCC & London
What do you enjoy most about LCC?
That it’s truly a creative space. There's no fuss and fancy façade, its just people striving to make the most of their talent and time.
What are the best things about studying in London?
The closeness to things, might it be a exhibition, a internship or amazing library.
Where do you go when you need a little inspiration?
Go for amazing coffee, visit National Trust buildings around London or go to browse beautiful magazines at the newspaper store.
Three words: to best describe you.
Enthusiastic, quirky and ambitious