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Internship diary: Going remote with Oriel Square

Thanks to Oxford University Careers and Santander UK’s internship scheme, our first intern joined Oriel Square this summer for an 8-week paid internship. Ben is a fourth-year PhD student at the University of Oxford with a keen interest in education policy.

A few weeks after sending off my application for an internship with Oriel Square back in March, I thought that – like everything else – my opportunity had been put on hold. As it turned out, the transition to remote working offered me a different kind of opportunity to grow my skills. 

The perks of a small team

Oriel Square offered the opportunity to gain experience in the publishing industry in an environment that was inclusive and offered a wealth of experience from others. Thanks to the small team, I was able to get involved in a greater variety of tasks and explore my interest in education policy. 

I was immediately made to feel welcome despite not being able to meet the team in person.

I was immediately made to feel welcome despite not being able to meet the team in person. As well as being introduced to the team in a group chat, I had individual meetings with every member of the team and was assigned a mentor. The insights I gained through involvement in team meetings and work on live projects certainly wouldn’t have been possible at a larger company.

My day-to-day

The tasks I was given ranged from editorial to marketing to research. It felt good to help the team on time-sensitive tasks and get involved with a wide variety of projects. I was introduced to various personal effectiveness and time-management tools which I will carry forward with me – especially Trello which I continue to use to organise just about anything! 

It felt good to get involved with a wide variety of projects.

As well as assisting the team with day-to-day tasks, I was asked to prepare a report on new market opportunities. As a PhD student in ancient history, I’m no stranger to research or writing – but my research usually involves poring over ancient texts rather than reading market reports and interviewing real, living people (a shocking novelty). It was really interesting to hear straight from Oriel Square’s directors how they had developed the business, and what ambitions they have for the future.

Working remotely

I started at Oriel Square in July, a few months after the company had transitioned to online working. A stand-up at the start of each day, in which everyone touched base and discussed what they were working on, set the stage nicely. Instant messaging, email, or video calls were available if I had a question for a member of the team and collaborating on files was smooth and easy using Google Drive.

I really appreciated the effort that had gone into trying to integrate me into the team during a difficult period.

A remote internship has its benefits and drawbacks. Although Oriel Square did a great job of integrating me into the company remotely, it was a shame to miss out on everyday office interactions – not to mention all the insights from Oriel Square’s work in education research.

My key takeaway

Despite never having worked with Oriel Square’s team in person, I took away a strong impression of how wonderful its team is. I really appreciated the warmth with which I was welcomed and the effort that had gone into trying to integrate me into the team during a difficult period. The internship was a great opportunity to work at a really well-run organisation, and I know that my experiences there will stand me in good stead as I pursue a publishing career.

Visit our website to find out more about opportunities at Oriel Square.