Just 72 hours after my final exam as an undergraduate at the University of Bristol, I was putting on my suit and making the early morning walk to JBP Associates. Over the past 3 years, I had passed the steep steps of The White House on Whiteladies Road without much idea of what exactly ‘PR, Stakeholder and Public Policy’ entailed. Now it was time for me to find out.
Sitting down at my newly appropriated desk, I had no idea just how quickly it would take for one month to pass. Leaning back into the arm rests of my chair, I felt somewhat pleased to have secured the opportunity of working with an award-winning organisation whilst my friends embarked on their travels – no seriously, I was!
My first project was focused on conducting research into members of the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA), which required quickly getting up to speed with the industry itself. For another client, I also had the opportunity to learn more about the legal challenges that solicitors face at a time of such rapid technological innovation. It soon became clear that this internship was not going to be about making coffee, printing and stapling. Instead, I quickly became involved in working with everyone, from account executives to directors and even the CEO!
As a researcher, I spent a lot of time focused on business development, such as providing an insight into UK-China business relations. I could also utilise my academic research skills in a professional environment, particularly when I produced a briefing paper on technology and disruption. It felt great to make use of the expertise that I had developed throughout my degree, and even better to know that I was making a real impact in the company.
The penultimate day of my internship was at JBP’s Westminster office, a fitting location to explore the relationship between politics and business further. Surrounded by a wall of political memes, and with the sound of BBC Parliament in the background, I gained an excellent insight into the art of lobbying, All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs), and new clients involved in fintech, big data and AI. Working in the shadow of the Houses of Parliament was certainly a highlight.
Now that my internship has come to an end, I can go forward with greater commercial awareness and understanding of the relationship between politics and business than I had before. Starting work just 72 hours after my last exam was certainly worth it after all.
This blog post has been written by Joe Robinson.