Hello Audrey and Nicolas! Thank you for meeting with me in this rainy evening. First, could you tell us where you come from and what you did before SKEMA?
Audrey: I’m from Paris and before SKEMA, I did preparatory classes in Paris. Then I came to SKEMA in L3 (Licence 3 = 3rd year of undergraduate degree) as many of my classmates. First, I was on the campus in Lille which is my favourite one thanks to its location right in the city center and its atmosphere. Then I went to China to the Suzhou campus. It was definitely a different experience than it would have been on exchange because since it’s a SKEMA campus, it’s kind of a French school abroad but it was still amazing and I recommend it. It was by the way one of the reasons why I chose SKEMA in the first place, to be able to go to China.
Nicolas: Me, I have a different background. I studied a two-year degree in banking (BTS Banque) and worked in this industry for three years. Thanks to this work experience, I could pursue directly a one-year MSc Digital Marketing after that. I chose this degree because I was gravitating towards marketing. The digital portion of it was obvious for me, since for our generation it’s something usual that’s part of our everyday life. I didn’t have any experience, I wasn’t a professional in this field but as many of my classmates, I have certain instincts that people from previous generations don’t necessarily have and that is thanks to the fact that we’re dealing with the digital world all the time.
Audrey, did you have any experience in digital marketing before joining this MSc?
Audrey: Yes, I did two internships in my gap year. The first one was in real estate in London. They let me do different things such as accounting or media planning and I learned a lot by myself. The second one was in Ubisoft EMEA which was a great learning and personal experience. I managed many tasks related to digital marketing – website creation, newsletters, SEO, SEA. We had to make sure that the brand and its features such as logos or colors weren’t misused. It’s during this year that I decided to stay in digital marketing. I thought it was the future and many brands were starting to go through digital transformation which was the case of Ubisoft as well.
Which courses at SKEMA helped you the most in your current job?
Audrey: For me, it was definitely social media classes and a lecture about SEO which I still use today.
Nicolas: For me, the most useful were Mike’s classes in Web design and Web development. I already had some basics, especially in Photoshop or Illustrator but these classes allowed me to reach next level. Also, since I came to SKEMA later than many of my peers, I didn’t have as much knowledge as them in marketing or project management so basically everything was new and useful to me.
Audrey: I really liked Mike Decastro’s personality and attitude. He’s a dedicated, hard-working self-learner and I think his personal story is really inspiring. He sometimes lacks structure because he has too many things to share but he’s a great professor, always willing to help us.
Nicolas: The same goes for Muriel Walas. She really gives her heart to this MSc and she tries to please everyone which is obviously hard. She’s there for us 100% of the time, taking into account our point of view and working constantly on improvement. The human dimension of this MSc is something that differentiates it from other degrees and it’s thanks to Muriel and her team.
When did you start looking for an internship?
Nicolas: I started in February and got my internship in June. I used LinkedIn more for bigger companies and Indeed for smaller ones. Of course, your Linkedin profile has to be in English and has to be updated regularly but that’s natural for a student of digital marketing. I also contacted several SKEMA alumnis for advice on LinkedIn.
Audrey: You can also apply directly on companies’ websites and if you’re interested in gaming, http://emploi.afjv.com/index.php is the number one website. And don’t forget about networking. The gaming industry is small, everyone knows each other so it can go really fast! I started applying in January, I had two interviews thanks to my previous contacts and I finally accepted an offer in February. It was just one Skype interview. I was really stressed out about accepting it because you’re naturally wondering if you’re not missing better offers that would come in the future.
Have you ever been contacted by a recruiter on LinkedIn?
Audrey: Yes, but not when I was looking for an internship.
Nicolas: But it doesn’t matter, even recruiters aren’t necessarily looking for anyone at the moment, they want to grow their network and gain potential candidates. In this case, it’s more of a long-term interest.
Do you have any recommendations regarding recruitment process?
Nicolas: It’s not new but you really have to personalize your resume, your cover letter and your speech. And don’t be afraid to call or email the person if they are not answering. It’s annoying for everyone but there’s no other way around it. Be proactive. Also, think carefully about the wording and make sure that the design of your resume isn’t detrimental to the text. It’s still has to be easily readable for recruiters skimming through.
Audrey: I think you really have to put a lot of effort in your resume, more than in your cover letter. I recommend using enhancv.com where you can find great templates. It’s similar to canva.com. You also have to read many times the job offer, learn it basically by heart to know exactly what they’re looking for and use the keywords in your resume, cover letter and your presentation during the interview. You have to adapt your pitch to the offer.
Did you get any surprising questions in the interview?
Nicolas: No, it was about my previous experience, the company, their products and news in the gaming industry.
Have you received any useful feedback from recruiters?
Nicolas: I did and it helped me improve my interview skills. They told me to structure better my thoughts and try to hesitate less which is not easy to do! And if they don’t give you any feedback spontaneously, don’t be afraid to ask them.
Audrey: You should also do a self-assessment after the interview. “I shouldn’t have reacted this way, I should have said that…” Try to learn from it.
Did the recruiters know SKEMA?
Audrey: Yes, there are several SKEMA alumnis in the agency.
Nicolas: The HR did but not the manager I think. He was more interested in my background and my personality.
Audrey, could you now present the agency where you’re working now?
Audrey: Elan Edelman is an international agency offering communications and PR services. In Paris, there are about 180 employees and we’re located right at Champs-Elysées. I’m working in the Game change team and I’m managing Xbox and DreamHack France accounts.
Nicolas, I think Ubisoft doesn’t need any introduction. What is it like to work there?
Nicolas: I’m working at Ubisoft EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa). Other Ubisoft divisions in Paris area are France, World and Mobile division. It’s a kind of huge but in a good sense. The offices are really cool, it’s a huge open space, it’s very cozy. This is a world of entertainment so despite its size, it’s very human, colorful, it encourages creativity and supports well-being. Walking down the hall of Ubisoft, you’re feeling like in a museum of action figures.There is no dress code, it’s quite loose in terms of structure. Compared to my previous experience in banking, there is less pressure but we work better and the management style is far from being condescendent and old school. We have a free breakfast every Monday and there are rooms where you can play games.There are quite a lot of events as well, related or not to PC games.
Audrey, do you have similar perks as well?
Audrey: We work in a gorgeous building at Champs Elysées. It is quite a luxurious environment and our little gaming team really is the stereotype of geeks who come in in hoodies. The atmosphere is great, we have access to many benefits such as massages or yoga classes but we are also actively helping underprivileged people! From time to time, we work for a day in a NGO or association. I chose to help in agriculture so I spent the whole day working on a field and helping get rid of garbage. This kind of initiative encouraged by companies really counts for me.
What is your job?
Audrey: I’m a PR and social media assistant. One of my tasks is community management of Xbox France on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and Instagram. I create and plan the posts and answer questions on these channels. I also manage PR which includes relations with journalists, influencers, Youtubers and Instagramers and we prepare different events and recommendations for Xbox, for example for launch of a new product.
Nicolas: I’m a Web producer assistant in a team of 8 people that manages creation of Web pages on ubisoft.com and also websites dedicated to different games. We’re more in charge of the technical side of the projects. We have to make sure that the agencies’ work fits technical, aesthetic and branding requirements of Ubisoft and we also integrate the code delivered to us. We are responsible of the final product in terms of design and integration. Also, as new products are launched, we have to update regularly the main website ubisoft.com. Additionally, we have a long-term goal that is to guarantee the digital evolution of Ubisoft, such as what features to add on our website to make it better and more appealing compared to our competitors. In short, my job includes project management, marketing and coding.
What programming languages do you use?
Can you describe your day?
Audrey: Agency is a fast-paced environment. Many people don’t really have a permanent place, they keep moving around with their laptop! It’s very agile. Among my tasks, the only thing that is regular is community management – you have to feed your social media accounts every day. Since you have to deal with many different clients and you manage many last minute requests, the most important thing is being organized. I swear by my to-do list! Also, you need to organize and label your email folders, otherwise you’ll get lost in the hundreds of emails.
Nicolas: Definitely. You have to be organized and agile which is the case of Ubisoft itself. For example, we spend less time in useless meetings than in my previous jobs and we’re rather making quick calls to discuss an issue. The communication is more flexible and virtual.
Speaking of communication, what tools do you use?
Nicolas: Skype Business, Slack, Trello, Microsoft OneNote. I swear, my to-do lists reached a new level thanks to OneNote! Plus, it’s on Cloud so you can access it anywhere.
Audrey: Me, I’m still old school and I use just paper to do my to-do list.
Nicolas: Forget it! OneNote rocks!
What about data analysis?
Nicolas: I use Adobe Analytics which has the same logic as Google Analytics. But it’s not my main task, I’m not a data analyst. It’s the same for Excel which I use very often but mainly to create lists or assemble data in a structured manner and not to analyze data.
How often do you use English?
Both: All the time and even with French clients. You have to be really comfortable to write and speak in English.
Nicolas: We create websites in English since it’s the obvious starting point for translations to other European languages.
What are the perspectives after your internship ends?
Audrey: There’s a reason why everyone is young in agencies, it’s because no one will stay long! It is a known fact that generally in an agency, you work very hard and you’re not paid well. But it’s an amazing learning experience. It’s kind of like the French preparatory classes that you do after high school to get to the best school afterwards. Having a working experience in an agency is highly appreciated by recruiters because it means you’re dedicated and are willing to work hard under pressure. It’s very rewarding for me to work “on the other side” – I’m realizing just now that when I was at Ubisoft communicating with different agencies such as the one I’m currently in, my last minutes requests must had driven the poor account managers crazy! If one day, I go back to work for an advertiser, I’ll try to be more considerate of the workload of people in agencies who are always juggling between many different projects! Regarding my prospects after the internship, there are many companies in e-sport which is my passion and there may also be an opportunity to stay in the agency so I’ll see.
Nicolas: It’s always harder to get a full-time contract at big companies such as Ubisoft because it’s more convenient for them to get interns or to hire more experienced employees and not recent graduates. I’ll review my options and do my best!
Do you think the MSc degree from SKEMA helped you land this internship?
Audrey: It definitely did. SKEMA is a renowned school and degrees in digital marketing are still rare in France. But the degree itself is not enough. Your personal projects count enormously for recruiters. For example, my e-sports website (esport-trend.com) that I built with my classmate and which I consulted with Mike, caught the attention of many recruiters and managers. I’m realizing it only now but during our studies, we wasted so much time! Of course, I had a great time with my friends but I should have thought more ahead. Cause once you have a job, your free time shrinks to evenings and weekends and if you intend to keep having a social life, you’ll have very little time to educate yourself and learn new things beyond the internship. Also, you’ll find yourself on the job market with people that didn’t have the chance to do a business school but that worked hard and learn by themselves in their free time. Eventually, they can easily outclass you.
Nicolas: That’s right. In this MSc, we covered a lot of things. However, my advice is to identify the field or fields of digital marketing that you’re passionate about. The best candidates and employees are those who know a little bit of everything but then focus and become expert in one or two things.You want to work in CRM? Great! Listen to podcasts, find online courses, do tutorials… The school won’t give you everything. It’s up to you to be proactive and to show to the company that you’re not just a walking degree.