Hello girls! Could you first tell us a little bit about yourselves?
Charlotte: Before SKEMA, I did two years of preparatory classes for business school in Paris and then I came to SKEMA in L3 (in French school system, L3 = Licence 3 = third year after high school graduation). I spent my first year at the Sophia Antipolis campus, then I did M1 (first year of Master’s degree) at another SKEMA campus in Raleigh, North Carolina, after that I did a gap year in Paris and finally, I came back to Sophia Antipolis for MSc Digital Marketing.
Claire: I did a two-year university degree in Economics and Finance in Lille which included courses preparing us to enter business schools. Then I spent my first three semesters at SKEMA in Lille when I decided to go to another SKEMA campus in Suzhou, China. When I came back to France, I did the first part of my gap year in the north of France and then I got an internship in Amsterdam. These were my two first professional experiences in marketing. And finally, I spent my last year at Sophia Antipolis.
Which campus was your favourite?
Charlotte: Personally, I’m in love with Sophia Antipolis. Even though it’s not the “real life” – it’s a student city, we’re close to the beach, life there is more calm and the number of job opportunities is not comparable to Paris, I loved the two years that I spent there.
Claire: I enjoyed every campus that I’ve been to but I got the most out of the one in Lille. Mainly because that’s where I met many of my friends and also the atmosphere was very great. But finishing my student years in Sophia was definitely a good choice.
Why did you choose SKEMA?
Charlotte: Because it would allow me to go abroad thanks to SKEMA’s international campuses and exchange programs with foreign universities which is very important. During my year in Raleigh, I travelled a lot and it was a great experience.
Claire: Yes, for my it was definitely the international dimension of the school as well.
What was your favourite class? Maybe something related to CRM?
Charlotte: I had already acquired a lot of experience in CRM during my gap year so for me the biggest asset of the MSc was to learn about other sides of digital marketing. My favourite class was an elective in communication. It allowed me to learn a lot about a field in which I had no previous experience but it definitely caught my attention!
Claire: My favourite class was given by Audrey Fleury which was part of the E-Commerce, E-CRM, Social Network & Community Management course. It was very specialized and taught by a real expert who works in the business. I also liked the elective in communication that Charlotte mentioned. And I think the best classes were those taught by Victor Poinson who prepared us for Google Adwords and Google Analytics certifications. Victor is an excellent professor, he trained us very well and both certifications are great assets for our resume. It’s also quite exceptional to have a class with someone who works in a tech giant such as Google.
Now, let’s talk about your internship! Do you remember when did you start applying?
Claire: Me, since January.
Charlotte: Me too, I started quite early but I changed my mind a few times so it doesn’t really mean anything.
Claire: I sent out about sixty applications. At the beginning, I wanted to try to find an internship abroad and I had a few phone interviews but nothing successful. In total, I had about ten phone interviews and five interviews in person. I finally accepted an offer at Estée Lauder at the beginning of June. As we were finishing our semester in April, many students had already signed their contract so it was quite stressful but I was hoping that there would be more last minute offers for July. And I was right! Also, it’s hard to decide if the companies don’t give their answers at the same time. So I had to accept the offer without waiting for feedback from other companies.
Charlotte: Me too, I tried abroad but I had very few answers which was very frustrating. I had one phone interview in English which was helpful for me since I’d never done one before. The recruiter spoke really fast so it was a good training. They also gave me some useful advice such as to talk more about the job itself and about what I can bring to the company. Eventually, they hired someone who was available sooner than me. All in all, the process for internships abroad was far too unproductive so I let it go and I used some contacts from my previous internships. Finally, I accepted an offer at Sarenza at the end of April.
Did you have another useful feedback from recruiters?
Claire: Not really, even though I asked many times.I find it very disappointing from their part, not to go through the process and give us any tips on how to improve ourselves.
Charlotte: I think it’s especially true for big companies such as Danone or L’Oréal where I passed some interviews. Their feedback was mostly vague, superficial and therefore not much helpful.
Did the recruiters know SKEMA?
Both: The ones in France always.
Let’s talk about CRM. Can you give me a definition?
Charlotte: First, it’s important to note that CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is different from PRM (Prospect Relationship Management) and from Client Service. It really has nothing to do with answering angry clients as some people still think.
Really? Who thinks that?
Charlotte: My grandparents (laughter). It’s a new concept and they still have trouble understanding that.
We execute CRM since the moment a client completes a conversion on the website and we get important data about his purchase behaviour. It’s very analytical and the goal is to reach the right person with the right message at the right time. At the beginning, we’ll send the same newsletter to everyone and then we need to segment the audience and create different scenarios for each target. Of course, it’s essential to find a good balance and not to be intrusive with our newsletters and messages.
What exactly is your job now?
Charlotte: I’m doing an internship at Sarenza in Paris and I’m taking care of operations in mobile CRM, more specifically of push notifications in our app. It is my first experience with mobile CRM which is a trend now. Apart from that, together with my manager we define a global CRM strategy of newsletters for the whole company and hence for different countries but they can adapt these guidelines to their needs.
Claire: I’m doing an internship at Estée Lauder and I’m completely new to CRM. First, I wanted to have “digital marketing” on my resume but I wanted to keep evolving in traditional marketing. But I changed my mind when I saw the offer for Estée Lauder. Sure, it was digital marketing but not the kind that I’m not interested in, in other words, the more technical side of digital marketing including website, extensions, code and such. Now, I’m doing operational CRM which entails tasks like creating email invitations for our clients. With our manager, we decide which wording and visuals to use and to whom to send them. I’m really enjoying the possibility to be creative. I’m also taking part in several digital projects, for now, it’s been mostly benchmarks to get ahead of competition but my internship had started just recently so I’m sure I’d have more responsibilities later. Apart from that, I’m carrying out little tasks such as writing newsletters and instructions manuals for our products.
Charlotte, you don’t write newsletters, right?
Charlotte: I don’t but I do write the push notifications for our app. It works well in retail and e-commerce and we know that our competitors such as Zalando, La Redoute, Monshowroom or Showroomprive use them as well.
What tools do you use?
Charlotte: In my previous internship, we used Netmessage to send texts and ID Contact. Now in Sarenza, we use Adobe Campaign (formerly Neolane) for newsletters and Accengage for push notifications which is connected to Adobe Campaign. I’m really glad for having learnt to work with Adobe Campaign since it’s a very common tool in CRM. As many companies, we also use Google Drive in order to not to stock too many files on the server and share files and links more easily.
Claire: Me, it’s a lot of PowerPoint (laugh). We work with an agency that creates design for us so I just give them guidelines on which visual and text we’d like to see.
Do you think it’s hard to find an internship in CRM without having previous experience in this field?
Claire: In my job interview, I opted for full honesty and I admitted that I had no experience but I wanted to learn. I also highlighted that creativity was needed for CRM and as it was my strength, I think it helped my application. In general, you have to start with operational CRM and next step is strategic CRM which is Charlotte’s current internship.
Charlotte: Yes, that’s true, I did operational CRM in my gap year and now, I’m doing strategy.
Have you been trained in any way?
Charlotte: I did a lot of tutorials on Sarenza’s own platform. They deal with many many topics and are very well explained. I think they were realized by Sarenza’s interns or managers and it’s very easy to follow to process and to set up correctly a push notification or to create a target segment for example.
Claire: I was trained in detail on the process of creating mailers by the person who was previously in charge of CRM. Later, I had an additional training to understand different time limits – for example, how much time is needed to validate a visual or to send it to print.
Do you have any opportunity to use English at work?
Charlotte: Yes, since I’m in touch with different countries that Sarenza operates in.
Claire: I work for Estée Lauder France and specifically, for two brands, Clinique and Estée Lauder, and basically all the communication is carried out in French.
What’s the company culture like? Do you have to respect a dress code?
Claire: Estée Lauder has a chic and classy image so they try to avoid the “jeans – sneakers” look, that’s for sure (laugh). There is American culture in the company since it comes from the US.
Charlotte: Sarenza is a young and dynamic company and one of their values is “fun” so they try to make the work as nice as possible. They had a great welcome prepared for us and they’re also very transparent even with interns which is not usual.
Would you like to stay for a full-time position?
Charlotte: A permanent employee contract (CDI in French) is very hard to get here but I would be most likely interested in a temporary contract (CDD).
Claire: Yes, it’s the same in my company although the advantage of Estée Lauder is that it includes many brands so I could try my luck with another one.
What is the hierarchy in CRM like?
Charlotte: At Sarenza, first, there is operational CRM, then strategic CRM, followed by acquisition (turning leads to customers) and customer retention. Then Head of CRM and Head of CRM and Trafficking which are often connected.
Claire: It’s the same at Estée Lauder.
Do you feel any difference in how you’re treated now and in your previous internships?
Claire: Definitely. We have more responsibilities but we also have to live up to higher expectations, no one will guide us like a child anymore. And it’s also a good reflex to have to always ask questions even if you feel like you’re bothering or annoying your managers or colleagues. As our dear Muriel Walas would say, there are no stupid questions, only stupid answers!