The Internship Chronicles: Inside of L’Oreal

The Internship Chronicles: Inside of L’Oreal

What's it like at one of the most coveted internship programs in the country?

I met Amanda in Chicago at the Global Leadership Summit , an annual international conference for business students. She’s very passionate about her career, and it shows! She scored an internship at Loreal in Manhattan over the summer of 2018.  I wanted to know what it’s like inside L’Oréal’s internship program, what it takes to be successful there, and her advice for college students looking for their next opportunity. 

How did you find your internship? What do you think made your resume stand out to the recruiters?

           Last summer, I was a Marketing Intern for L’Oreal USA in their beautiful new Hudson Yards office in Manhattan. During the fall of my junior year, I came across the Marketing Internship application on my school’s career portal and decided to apply! Two short weeks later, L’Oreal recruiters were coming to campus to meet with students and host an information session to provide more insight on the internship program. I was lucky enough to have an in-person interview with the Head Recruiter that same day, and the rest is history!

          Of all the things I had on my resume, the one that I think truly gave me a competitive edge was co-founding a community service organization on campus. This one activity reflected entrepreneurism, compassion, and leadership qualities without needing much explanation. To anyone struggling with building up their resume: I highly recommend doing something different and out-of-the-box to catch a recruiter’s attention. 

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Did you feel like you were going to get it?

Absolutely not! In retrospect, I was probably too hard on myself but after the second interview, I was not feeling too confident. It was a phone interview – which are always hard to gauge simply due to the fact that you can’t physically see a human response. Just like most others, I thought I could’ve given “better” answers to certain questions after taking the time to think about them afterwards, but it all ended up working out!

What was the interview process like?

The interview process at L’Oreal consisted of one in-person interview and one phone interview. My first interview was mainly behavioral questions to assess whether or not I would be a good fit for the overall company and the culture. The second interview was technical in nature and tested my knowledge of marketing tactics, successful marketing campaigns currently in the marketplace, and my overall knowledge of the beauty industry. Their recruiting process is always changing, so I’m not sure what the current process is like!

Did you have to relocate? What was that like?

Fortunately, I did not have to move! I live in northern New Jersey and so I spent the summer commuting via public transportation into New York City. There were definitely some rough mornings getting up at 4:45AM, and frustrating evenings when the buses were delayed, but commuting was an eye-opening experience!

Describe how your first week went. Was it surreal?

The first week is honestly a blur! The first two days, we all had orientation which consisted of tons of informative presentations and workshops that aligned us as an intern class with the company culture and initiatives. We also went over administrative matters such as payroll, logging hours, etc! On the third day, I met my manager and my team that I would be working with all summer which was definitely the most exciting and nerve-wracking day of the entire summer! The first week was mainly focused on meeting people, becoming familiar with whatever brand you were assigned to, and diving into your summer intern project!

Did you receive a mentor? How did they assist you while there?

I did receive a mentor! It was one of my favorite parts of the entire process. My mentor helped give me feedback on different projects I was working on and ideas I had, and was the first person I would run things by before presenting them to my manager and team. She introduced me to a whole separate network of individuals within a different brand, which was also an amazing opportunity to meet new people and build connections early on! We are still in touch to this day and I am so excited to reconnect with her when I return.

How was this different than your other internship experiences?

This internship was different because I truly felt like a part of the team, and so much more than “just an intern”. I was able to attend almost every meeting my manager went to, was able to present my ideas alongside full-time employees during large meetings, and presented my final intern project to senior management. I worked on projects that were meaningful and never did “busy work”, which really made me feel like I was adding value during my time there.

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What did you learn during your time there?

I learned so much about brand management, retailer dynamics and relationships, consumer research, advertising and media… the list goes on and on! I was exposed to so many different areas of the business and my manager was so amazing with connecting me to people and encouraging me to meet with people from all different functions. I never thought that I would be interested in looking over P&Ls as a Marketing Intern – but I was!

What kind of projects did you work on?

I can’t really share specifics as far as the content of my project, but I worked for the Maybelline brand (one of L’Oreal USA’s biggest consumer products brands). Essentially my project was to come up with a plan to help bolster sales on one of their heritage lines – I had different avenues I could take it (i.e. Do we reposition and target a new consumer group with this brand? Do we spend on advertising/media/in-store promotions to remind the lapsed consumers that it’s still an old-time favorite, etc?). The project was pretty open-ended and it was up to me to run with it. I conducted my own market research studies with consumers, scheduled calls and meetings with people from our sales teams/brand development teams/consumer learning teams, etc. 
Then, I culminated a plan and delivered a 15 minute presentation to senior management, the HR team, my manager, and the Senior VP of Maybelline US. It was nerve-wracking for sure, but I put so much time and research into it that it all turned out well! Plus, my team actually implemented some of my marketing recommendations into their 2019-2020 plans for the brand. That was my favorite part of my internship – the fact that they gave us the chance to work on real projects that they truly needed help on, it was never really “busy work”,

Were you given an offer at the end of it? If so, what do you think you did that made you stand apart from other interns?

I am so thankful to say that I did receive an offer at the end of the internship! I am excited to be returning in September 2019 to take part in their Management Development Program! I really prioritized networking during my time there and I wasn’t afraid to speak up and present new ideas to the team which I think helped me stand out. I really tried to go above and beyond my daily tasks to show that I truly wanted to be there for the long-term.

Is there anything else you’d want people to know about interning at L'Oreal? Would you recommend it?

I absolutely 100% recommend L’Oreal’s summer internship program. It is competitive, but you learn so much about the industry and about marketing in general. All of the employee learning resources are available to interns, the spirit of the company is very entrepreneurial which encourages growth and idea generation, and the people are AMAZING! Plus, interns have the ability to use their discounts at the company store which may or may not have been the highlight of my summer (Kidding!).

What pieces of internship/professional advice do you wish you could give to other college women?

I would tell other college women to be confident and be true to yourself when searching for internships. From the moment you sit down in an interview, you will really be able to tell if you are clicking with the people on the other side of the table and thus whether or not that company is going to be a good fit for you. I would also say that researching the company is the most important part! Go into every interview knowing the company inside and out, and get creative with questions that you ask interviewers so that they know just how much research you really did! Lastly, don’t be so hard on yourself. In a weird way, everything tends to work itself out.

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