Experience: Highlights from a summer work placement at BGEN

Experience: Highlights from a summer work placement at BGEN

Natasja has been studying Fashion Marketing at the University of Leeds, but – due to the pandemic – she felt that her industry experience in marketing, to go along with her academic and vocational training was lacking and that she may be at a disadvantage as a result. Natasja has been with us throughout the summer and has worked alongside the marketing team in that time.

Whilst the world of engineering is very different to Natasja’s chosen field of consumer marketing in mainly Fashion, B2B Marketing has many similarities in the challenges and opportunities of the workplace and there are transferable skills that can be learned from shadowing and taking on projects here at BGEN.

We asked Natasja to share with us what those skills and formative experiences were and below are some highlights from the last 12 weeks: 

My Three Highlights

Ideation Workshop

As you would expect, we didn’t have much time in the office, but in July I was invited to sit in and contribute to a workshop – not only with the marketing team – but also with the new Director of BGEN! There was such a buzz about on the day as everyone was contributing freely and openly through the planned agenda. We were able to work together to develop ideas and came out of the workshop with real and measurable goals!

I’ve not personally sat in on a ideas workshop before, or any workshop like this and it was fascinating to see everyone bring their own perspective in such an encouraging atmosphere. I was also fascinated in the process of this and will be using similar approach in my career in the future.

Client Visit

Halfway through my placement I was invited to join BGEN’s Market Development Director and Design Director on a visit to one of their largest clients, within the pharmaceutical sector.

I was able to experience first-hand how business to business relationships work, and how a business proposal meeting commends. I was surprised to find out how long the client has been working alongside BGEN, which highlighted for me that they are a reliable and professional company to work with and for.

In addition to this, I was impressed by the technical knowledge of BGEN representatives: it seemed like they had an intimate knowledge of all aspects of not only this project – but pretty much anything that came up in the visit! 

BGEN International launch

As part of my work experience, I was invited onto every meeting discussing the launch of BGEN’s brand new subsidiary. It was so exciting to be a part of something so major in the company’s history and it was reassuring to see – even in a pandemic and when people are connecting remotely – there is so much energy and enthusiasm for a project across the board. I think it was really inspiring to see BGEN begin to set up a HQ in Africa for all the right reasons, and to see Bolaji Sofoluwe, the first women to be appointed Chair!

My three biggest takeaways

It doesn’t matter what the project is, energy efficiency and sensitivity to the environment are always a consideration.

It surprised me – in a company where huge industrial and infrastructure projects are commissioned – just how much of a culture there is around ‘getting it right’ with sustainability and energy efficiency. This is also clearly the case for all clients, partners and for employees as well. 

BGEN consider and act on environmental issues within all areas of the company. It’s been interesting seeing all the stages to developing BGEN’s goal to become ‘Net Zero’ at Firecrest is inspiring and sets the right example whilst also encouraging innovation which is something in the air at BGEN! I’m really looking forward to seeing his come to fruition after I leave!

Time is an important and (very) valuable resource

I was further intrigued to learn about how much time and effort it takes to plan and prepare a project. There’s a wide range of areas, with multiple parties which need to be considered throughout a project and even well before it goes ahead. People at BGEN organize their time carefully and efficiently and even though they are incredibly flexible, this is respected here.

Furthermore, I learned if even one small area is behind, it can delay an entire project which can waste a lot of time, effort, and money, which reinforced how time management and project planning is vital.

When a team has a shared mission and shared values, not even a global pandemic can stop them

The placement also made me appreciate how much effort has gone into the ‘BGEN International’ launch. There have been a few setbacks due to the pandemic but the spirit of the company has consistently been positive. It was extremely interesting to observe and sit in on the meetings with the International team and witness the key components (and there are a lot) for building a business and opportunities overseas. Although challenging at times, as some hurdles were hit, BGEN showed that working as a team can result the best solutions for each other and the company.

The same spirit and shared purpose was reflected in everything the company has done and the feeling of togetherness even on remote working projects and zoom calls really made me feel part of something.

Personal Growth

As well as the above, I have had the chance to develop skills that I don’t think I would have had I not come on this placement. it’s been amazing to see some academic principles be used in real time and in real life examples (such as SWOT analysis) It’s also been a practical experience where I’ve dramatically improved in organization, time management, self-belief, motivation, and teamwork. Thank you for having me BGEN!

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