Internships: how we turn graduates into the analytics stars of tomorrow

, Posted by Adrian Kingwell in Adrian's posts, Life @ Mezzo Labs

Although the job market is booming for experienced web analysts, it is still way too hard for graduates to get their feet on the bottom rung of the career ladder.

Getting on the first rung

Very few companies offer graduate training programmes for analysts, preferring to pay for top talent from all over the world. You’ve got to feel sorry for the home-grown graduate who has spent a small fortune on a degree which appears to be of little help in a very nervous, play-it-safe job market.

Mezzo Labs takes a different approach. We see huge benefit in working with British universities, in encouraging students at Bachelors and Masters levels to get experience through an internship programme, and then, if it makes sense, offer them permanent positions to kick start their analytics career.

The problem with internships

A few years ago, I noticed that two London academic institutions – Regents University and University of Westminster – were both offering courses in digital marketing with strong analytics components. (We recently added Southampton University as a third partner.)

I approached them to find out more and soon got involved in the courses, providing external advice and guidance to students, judging their projects, lecturing on analytics. It was (and still is) great fun.  A couple of nervous students approached me about interning for us, so we started a programme. But we wanted something that was different.

Why? A lot of internships are bad news. Many companies use interns as cheap (or free) labour. Interns are too keen to get that first brand on their CV, but as the work is fairly meaningless, they learn little, and as a result, both parties are glad to part ways when it is over. What a waste.

Our internship programme

So how is our internship different?

  1. It is paid. We’ll pay you £12.50 per hour. Fair’s fair.
  2. It is flexible. You need Tuesday afternoons off to work on your thesis? No problem. We just pay you for the hours you do.
  3. It is real work. You will work with real clients on real billable projects. You’re one of the team. We won’t ask you to do anything that we wouldn’t ask one of our analysts to do.
  4. You will learn. You tell us what you want to get out of the internship, what success looks like, and we’ll help you get there.
  5. It is a trial for a perm role. Show us what you can do, show us you have a passion for analytics and for making clients say wow, and we’ll offer you a permanent position at the end of it.

We have two programmes per year: one in the summer programme that starts in July, and one in the winter programme that starts in January. Each programme lasts 6 months, with a decision point after the first 3 months. At the end of the programme, if you have achieved your targets, we will offer you a permanent position.

If you want proof that the programme works, look at Iulia Cioara. Iulia graduated from Regents University in summer 2015 with a masters in Digital Marketing & Analytics and immediately started working for us as an intern. Six months later, she started as a full-time permanent Insight Executive, and in January 2017 she was promoted to Senior Insight Executive. She is now producing regular insight reports for clients like Barclaycard, HSBC and Marie Curie, plus an active member of the Measurecamp committee and an invaluable member of Team Mezzo.

What to do next

Interested? Here’s how to apply.

We accept applications for the internship programme at two points in the year: April (for the summer programme that starts in July) and October (for the winter programme that starts in January).

We are no longer accepting applications for the 2017 summer programme. Please contact us in October and we would be happy to consider you for the 2018 winter programme.

This is what to do…

  1. Send us your CV through the contact us form. Select the internship enquiry dropdown
  2. We will invite you to a one-hour interview in our office near London Farringdon station. 
  3. If you are successful in being short-listed, we will invite you back for a second interview. In this interview you will be expected to give us a 20 minute presentation on “the coolest thing in analytics”. Afterwards we will go out to a local bar so you can get to meet with other members of the team
  4. We will make our decision the next day and let you know as soon we can. It is a team decision and based mostly on how well we see you working with your team members and with our clients. We only have a couple of internship positions and sadly we don’t have capacity for every good candidate. Don’t worry if you are not chosen – we might be able to help you find another internship elsewhere in our network.

What do we look for in a candidate?

I have deliberately put this at the end of the blog so only the really determined candidates will spot it. If you have read this far, you’re doing well.

Here’s what we look for…

  1. Well-roundedness. As a graduate, I’m guessing you don’t have a lot of work experience. Don’t worry too much but it would be good to see where you have done something outside of school. Sure you have studied hard, but what else have you done with your life? We prefer well-rounded people to pure academics.
  2. Passion for analytics. You need to be really *into* this stuff. If you just want a job in analytics, you’d be better off in a big name corporation that will look good on your CV. If you want to learn from some awesome people and really accelerate your career in this space *because you love it*, then show us your passion and work here.
  3. Grit. This is not an easy job. There will be times when things get tough and you may feel like quitting. But if you have grit you will hang in there and grind out the result. 
  4. Sociability. Words like “team player” and “likeable” seem like a cliché. But if you don’t enjoy meeting people and talking to them about their challenges and helping them achieve results, you shouldn’t be working in an agency.
  5. Match with our values.  We match candidates to our values. I am not going to tell you what they are right now. You will need to find them somewhere on our website 🙂

That’s it. Good luck!