Maddy has just finished a master’s in Latin American Studies at the University of Oxford. She joins us for ten weeks as an intern working across the business.
I applied to Oriel Square because of my interest in education, stemming from time spent volunteering in schools, involvement in debate coaching, and experience researching higher education policy. While my first week was a steep learning curve, everyone at Oriel Square has helped give me the tools, time and training I’ve needed to understand and contribute to the business.
The Oriel Square team is friendly and welcoming, and has supported me as I’ve got to grips with education acronyms and publishing processes. Here’s what I got up to in my first week.
Three things that shaped my first week
Meeting the team: I spent much of my first week in one-to-one meetings, which shaped my understanding of the business and how the different roles within it fit together. It also gave me the opportunity to ask hundreds of questions and dig deeper into anything I found confusing or, more often, particularly interesting.
Understanding the breadth of services: I sat in on the week’s ‘publishing clinic’, a weekly event where team members report on the progress of their projects. The clinic was incredibly informative and left me with an overview of the sheer breadth of Oriel Square’s work.
Everyday interactions: This is my first experience of an office environment, and everyday interactions have made a world of difference. From trips to buy board games for lunchtime tournaments to getting the low-down on the colour-coded cutlery system, office-based idiosyncrasies have made the first month that much more enjoyable.
Oriel Square places a strong emphasis on growth, diversity, and wellbeing which is evident throughout both the office culture and the work I’m doing. One of my first tasks was to support the hiring process for some new roles, during which I was briefed on how Oriel Square’s commitment to diversity informs the CV-less first stage of recruitment.
It’s rewarding to see how these principles go beyond taglines on the website through the inclusive hiring processes, sustainability initiatives in the office, and the four-day work week.
Making an impact
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the genuine impact of my internship project, which has made it rewarding to work on. My project (as part of the Oxford Summer Internship Programme requirements) covers all elements of social media strategy. The aim is to help make Oriel Square’s channels more inclusive and accessible, and to deliver content that is helpful to our audience. As I’ve worked through the research, I’ve found that other members of the team have taken an interest and have found opportunities to use my findings in other areas of the business, such as editorial and design. It’s satisfying to know that my work will have made an enduring contribution to the business and our clients.
Beyond my internship project, I’ve had the chance to contribute to a variety of research and publishing projects. The diversity of work Oriel Square delivers is truly remarkable and my input has been incredibly varied: from formatting material for lesson plans to transcribing market research interviews and inputting metadata. I’ve also been involved with editing website content and even organising our company-wide summer social.
The responsibility I’ve been given has made me feel like part of the team from the outset as I was trusted to run a research interview and to draft recruitment application questions. I have been set interesting assignments and encouraged to work how I work best. In particular, the flexibility to work from home for part of the week and to set up a task tracking system which works for me has made my work far more effective.
I’ve learned an incredible amount in my first month; in addition to building on my knowledge of social media, I’ve gained valuable insight into design, marketing, research, and editorial with stimulating project work. So far, it’s been a rewarding and enjoyable experience, and I’m excited to see what the next few weeks will bring!