Stephanie Ponton is currently a final year student studying LL.B. Law. She completed her placement year at SAP UK last year as an In-house legal intern. Stephanie shares her placement experience below.
Sum up your placement experience in 3 words:
Incredible, inspiring, challenging.
How did you secure your placement?
I secured my placement by applying through the SAP application process. This involved an online application, a telephone interview and an assessment centre.
What was your typical day?
I would usually start my day around 9am, by checking my emails and prioritising the tasks that I would need to complete that day. I would then begin working through these tasks, starting with those which were most urgent.
My typical day would involve drafting and negotiating non-disclosure agreements, this would often involve conversing with customers via email or over the phone. Moreover, I would review services contracts which involved liaising with different colleagues across the business both face to face and over the phone. I would also review procurement contracts, often working with marketing and procurement teams based in different locations across the world.
Most days would often involve attending team meetings as well as meetings in relation to various projects that I would be working on.
Lunch would be spent with the team in the canteen giving everybody a chance to relax and providing the opportunity to catch up with the other interns.
My day would finish at different times each day, depending on my work load. At the end of the quarter, I would be involved in many important deals which meant I would be staying late at the office to support my team and sales colleagues. However, team morale would always be high creating a pleasant environment!
What skills did you develop from your placement?
My confidence increased significantly during my placement year which also developed my communication skills. Moreover, I learnt how to work under pressure and the importance of prioritisation and how to effectively manage my time.
My placement year also helped to develop my social skills which were important for building a rapport with my team and colleagues across the business.
What was your favourite placement moment?
My favourite placement moment was when I realised how much I had learnt and how far I had come since the beginning of my placement. I remember being sat at my desk working through my tasks and being confident in the work that I was producing. It was then that I realised how much I had learnt and how valuable my placement had been.
What would you say to students considering a placement?
Placement year is an extremely valuable experience. No matter where you secure your placement, the skills that you learn will be transferable to most roles. Having placement experience makes you stand out when applying for graduate schemes and provides a great opportunity to experience the working world and work out what path you want to take in the future.
How has this affected your final year and future career plans?
Coming back to final year after my placement has completely changed my attitude to work. I am a lot more motivated and disciplined and I am finding it easier to start my days earlier and feel productive throughout the day.
During my placement year, I also managed to secure a training contract. Although not at the place I completed my placement year, I am certain the skills and experience that I gained from SAP contributed to me securing my training contract.
My placement year greatly affirmed my ambition and motivation to become a lawyer and has increased my desire to be successful.