Louise Vingert

Securing the internship: I recently graduated from the University of Nottingham and I am currently enrolled in a masters programme in Security, Intelligence and Strategic Studies. I applied to the Nottingham internship programme because I would be spending my summer in Nottingham and I was looking for an opportunity which could turn into a potential future job. Why Inclusive Boards? It caught my attention for its services and the focus it has on inclusivity; relating it to my current studies, it involves human security which for me includes how someone is integrated in society and that is mainly what interested me at first. I have applied through the University of Nottingham summer internship programme which required me to send my CV together with a form including questions about my interest for the company, my personal experiences and, what I thought was interesting, a question on suggestions for the company. Two months later, I was invited for an interview. I believe this to have been the most challenging step. The email mentioned a face to face interview as well as a written assessment and a numerical reasoning test. The former was in my head very daunting as a former student of International Relations. Nonetheless, once I arrived the process was rather smooth with some challenging moments. In an informal atmosphere, I was asked a lot of questions strength- and skills-based but also situational. Following, I was given the written assessments. After this first interview, I heard back rather quickly and I was invited for a second one, this time with the Managing Director. Compared to the previous one, it was very brief, and we’ve just went through my CV in a chat-like style. A couple of days later, I got the offer.  First day: My first day was really good, nonetheless a bit overwhelming as it is to be expected from a first day at the office. First of all, I was received in a great welcoming atmosphere, together with another intern, jumping straight into the weekly Monday meeting. I  believe this to have been a great opportunity to meet everyone not only located here, in Nottingham, but also in the London Office; it also gave me an idea of what everyone was working on. After the first introductions, the morning followed with induction and some paperwork, which went very smoothly. In the afternoon, I was explained more in depth what the company’s work is and my main duties for the duration of the internship: Data management and website content. Data Management: This has undoubtedly been my biggest challenge, and it was comprised of two phases. Firstly, I was assigned the task of arranging CRM (customer relationship management) demos and choosing one software which would then be used by the company. The process was long, as I wanted to make sure to evaluate a lot of options, however, my knowledge of the company work was still limited in the practical sense and on CRMs generally. Thus, I have had some difficulties in prioritising features needed. Luckily, everyone was really prompt to help, which have, however, also caused an overwhelming amount of requests on how the system should look like and/or features it should have. I knew of the CRM’s importance and felt a bit nervous but at the same time, I felt trusted upon, and that gave me confidence to deliver my best. The second phase regarded collating all existing data and ensuring a smooth migration to the new CRM. This process is still ongoing. The data to be migrated were in three different locations with different fields of importance, different information and different templates. This activity was more challenging and time consuming than I had first imagined. There was a bit of pressure dealing with that amount of data but with help I have managed to send it all for import. Now, only a few integrations and customisations are left and despite no experience in it I believe to have handled it well. Website Content: This task has been slightly amended. I have written an article on the volunteers week for the website on my first week, but afterwards I was assigned the writing of two reports on Gender Pay Gap in the UK and globally, and later on two articles on the same topic to promote the more lengthy reports.This has slightly changed the first assigned task, but it was not a problem. I have enjoyed the writing of these pieces a lot. It somehow provided a break from my CRM search, with a very up-to-date and interesting topic. I found them challenging because of the length but it all went rather smoothly and stress free with no particularly fixed deadlines.  Despite the slight adaptation of this task to the company’s needs, I am very happy and I believe to have achieved the set goals enriching my research and writing skills. I have written three articles in total and two reports, which are perhaps not all contents for the website, but of use to Inclusive Boards. The company: Inclusive boards, as the name might suggest, is very much focused on inclusivity also internally. It is a very welcoming company, with a great environment to work in. The collaborative side of things is what stood out the most for me, with great and open lines of communication at all levels. My time here was surrounded by people ready to help but also committed and focused in delivering. I was also involved in other tasks not exclusively related to what I was assigned to. This gave me the opportunity to collaborate with others and experience all sides of the business. This was also enhanced by Monday morning meetings and reflections at the end of each week. Furthermore, during my experience, I had the opportunity to participate in one of the company’s team meetings. It was a day full of great activities but also discussions about the company and its future, including brainstorming on its values and plans. I was at first surprised but impressed with the attention given to employees’ opinions on these matters, which  I believe to be very positive for a successful company but also to make it a good company to work for. Conclusion: My experience at Inclusive Boards was very positive and valuable as I have definitely stepped out of my comfort zone and acquired new skills. The CRM process was overall a bit stressful and time consuming with no immediate results, which can become frustrating at times. Nonetheless, it seems to be finally coming along. I am also very proud of my research pieces and the friendly and welcoming environment I found at Inclusive Boards.