My SME Internship: James – The Strange Thoughts Group

A photo of James, smiling to the camera, outside.

Hi, I’m James. 

I entered into the internship process in a bit of an unusual state; I’d withdrawn from my PGCE (History) course earlier the same year and was just coming out of that self-reflective headspace we all go through when we’ve made our latest “big choice”. 

I set my sights on marketing as a career path, as it was one where I could utilise my own creativity, research skills, and interpersonal skills. However, I’d found myself thinking; “How do I even get started in this field? If experience is so important to get a good offer, how do I get it to begin with?” 

Working with Bristol’s Careers Service team, we figured that the best way to get that first-hand experience was to go directly to the source by contacting SMEs directly in the Bristol area. After researching each company and tailoring them an email, I was soon sat across the table with Seth Jackson from the Strange Thoughts Group. A conversation over coffee turned into a week’s work experience, and the week’s work experience turned into an internship via the SME Internship Scheme! 

Life as an intern

From the moment I got there, it was all hands on deck. The common conception of the intern doing coffee runs, data entry, and nothing else was thoroughly debased. Instead, I was thrust into the fast-paced and mutable landscape of an SME, faced with new challenges and lessons at every corner. 

During my time with Strange Thoughts, I tackled research into marketing activation feasibility, developing my own AI-tools research project and project timeline whilst helping the team with putting together their own pop-up activation experience. I was included in creative and strategic meetings and called upon for both long-term and urgent tasks alike. 

At times I felt out of my depth and the imposter syndrome struck hard. There were days when I felt like I’d hoodwinked everyone involved and was just waiting to be found out. If you’re reading this and that’s a concern you either have, or you’re worried you will have it, take a few more moments of your time to read this next bit. 

Being an intern is about:

  • Learning! If you went into one being able to do 100% of your workload perfectly then you’d have been wasting your time. 
  • Being bold! Throwing yourself into every task you can do, even just the hurdle of getting in contact with a company, can yield fabulous experiences.  
  • Understanding yourself! This isn’t just an opportunity to learn about the industry, but also about how you fit into it. Are you creative? Detail oriented? Energetic? Strategic? All of these are useful qualities and skills. Understanding which you excel at and which you need to develop is invaluable for you as a person, not just as an employee.

During my internship, I not only developed a significant respect for Strange Thoughts as a company, but also made so many memories that I will take with me in my career. If you’re interested in learning in a place that encourages your individuality, you couldn’t do better than looking for opportunities with them through the SME Internship Scheme.

The SME Internship Scheme, University of Bristol.

Want to be an SME Internship intern?  

The SME Internship Scheme is open and we are currently advertising internships that you can apply for, or you can arrange your own internship

Check out our “My SME Internship” blog series to hear more student stories and get some inspiration. 

Looking for specialised careers support and advice? 

Contact us on Live Chat, check out our events, book an appointment, or drop in from Monday to Friday, 10 am to 4.30 pm during term time. 

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