Today was the penultimate day of my dissertation placement at Truth Consulting and I have mixed emotions. I won’t miss the 6:30am trains and I sure won’t miss the rush hour fight for a space on the tube, but I’m definitely going to miss the incredibly hilarious and talented people I’ve been working with for the last two weeks. Ultimately I’ve learnt so, so much over such a short period of time and this is my attempt to summarise it. Enjoy!
Throw out your expectations and preconceptions.
Going into this experience I had absolutely no idea what to expect. Even after visiting the offices and meeting some of the team at Truth, I was unsure as to exactly what it was that I’d be doing. However, I never expected it to be as varied as it was. Sometimes people ask me what it is that I’m actually doing on my placement, and it isn’t easy to explain. I’ve been writing website content, drawing up layouts of supermarket designs (and deciphering messy handwriting), minuting in-depth interviews, inputting data about financial strategy, and researching the links between music, culture and social media… just to name a couple of things! Ultimately, I end up saying that Truth are a branding and marketing consultancy who work with a variety of clients on a variety of projects, from brand development to campaign management to customer journey mapping. Again, that’s just naming a few of the many things that this incredible organisation does. However, it’s not just about what I was doing whilst on placement that forced me to forget my expectations; I was actively encouraged to forget my natural mode of thinking and pushed to think creatively in a new and innovative way in order to come up with interesting angles on issues surrounding culture in particular. Throwing out your expectations can lead to incredible things, even leading me to quote Jay Z in a piece of professional writing – who knew he could be so insightful?!
Ethics aren’t just for university.
Yes, yes we’ve all been guilty of complaining about filling out ethics forms and writing about ethics in our research projects (and if you haven’t you’re a liar), but in a sector that focuses so heavily on research, both qualitative and quantitative, surrounding people issues come up all of the time. What do you do if an organisation asks for your interviewees’ unique customer codes? What do you do if a participant who has really insightful information changes their mind about participating at the last minute during an in depth interview? Putting people first seems to be a huge focus at Truth, and rightly so. I will never again complain about the irrelevance of writing ethics reviews or say “it’s just common sense” again. Ethics and research in the working world can be extremely complex, requiring great attention to detail and forward planning, a life skill that we could all do with.
SU Society & Club Committee positions are relevant.
If I were to be given a pound for every time that people tell me I’m wasting my time by being involved in managing things such as publicity for society performing arts events, chairing a society, etc I would be very, very rich. But these last two weeks not only have learnt a lot that helps with society/club development, but the other way also. Having been publicity officer for multiple shows at university, I’ve gained practice in social media, design, etc. all of which are things that helped me this week. Not only this, but events management and planning an entire year including finance and a focus on presence on campus is very similar to some of the work that Truth do. Much of the work I have witnessed and been involved in during the placement has reminded me of projects I have worked on outside of academics at uni. A brand wants to attract a different social group – very similar to trying to get a range of people to come to your charity fundraising events. A not-for-profit wants to understand how best to design their visual media to encourage involvement in awareness raising – very similar to the hard work and forward thinking involved in being a publicity officer for a show. The list could go on forever.
I’ve learnt so much at Truth, and I can’t wait to get properly started on my dissertation, and apply what I have learnt here into my extra-curricular activities at university. I can’t recommend a working dissertation enough. The skills you learn are an absolute vitality for a range of industries and having a confidence boost in knowing that your degree actually does apply to so much in the world of work. The last two weeks have been fantastic, and I’d like to thank Truth for having me and for being so great.