Almost like Silicon Valley: my placement at Skyscanner
By Sarah Davenport, on 22 May 2013
A blog post by Kate Kozhevnikova, MA in Electronic Communication and Publishing
Hi everybody, people who are already in DIS or planning to join. I’m a full-time international student on the Electronic Communication and Publishing (ECP) programme. ECP is a great course which doesn’t necessarily specify what/who you are supposed to work as. So when it came to choosing an organization and a field for my placement I felt that it would be a tough one. I had two offers and a choice to make: work either in communications or digital marketing. I chose the latter and that is where my story begins.
I started working at Skyscanner (a leading European flight comparison website with headquarters in Scotland) three weeks ago and I‘m already overwhelmed. Skyscanner has a presence in more than 20 markets around the globe, with Russia being its second largest market after the UK. My Russian language skills along with digital marketing experience came in handy here and I joined the Market Development team to work on Skyscanner.ru (look how funky the characters are) and my initial plan was to observe and be quiet for a while… I really wanted to learn from the people who work within the electronic market, deal with enormous amount of data every day and are trying to change the world of online travel.
My biggest surprise was that my first day started with a personal induction. It was a presentation about the company, its goals, plans, strategies and I had a chance to ask all the questions that were bugging me and find out about my role at the company. My second biggest surprise was that even though I joined the marketing team, I was assigned to spend some time with people from all over the company and learn from them, even web development and data acquisition (which I was especially pleased with).
When I started digging into the world of PPC, SEO, ROI, Redirect, USP and other cool acronyms and terms, that is when it hit me that I actually do know a lot already, and all the essays I’ve written for my classes left some pretty decent knowledge in my head. It was good to feel that I know some of the coding languages and I don’t need an initial explanation of what tags, style sheets, databases etc. are. I was also up-to-date with the online trends, varied platforms, social and legal aspects (thank you, Simon!) and actually developed a solid platform and personal view on many of these things. Being able to express my views and initiate projects based on my ideas in such a major company is the best outcome I could get. Furthermore, learning the technical side of a business which is purely online is another priceless part of my placement.
Going back a year to when I confirmed my offer from UCL, I remember reading again and again the section on the DIS website about placements. Initially, this part of the course was the most exciting for me. I was looking forward to entering the world of ‘real’ work in the UK. For an international student like myself it is a unique experience, which is really different from the one I had in my home country. It turned out to be better that I had imagined.