Ellie McKenzie reviews her two weeks work experience with the Atlas Partners team...

I wasn’t sure what to expect on my first morning as I climbed up the stairs to open the office door into my two weeks work experience with Atlas Partners, but I had the assumption that it would involve making a lot of tea and coffee. I couldn’t be more wrong, the only tea I was close to was the communi‘tea’.

With an ever-growing interest in the political world, I was hoping to get a lot out of being at the heart of political communications with Atlas Partners, and it did not disappoint. Over the fortnight I was given various projects to tackle, allowing me to venture into all different aspects of the media and political work Atlas does. As a Shakespeare super fan and a true feminist, I really enjoyed writing case studies for the work Atlas did for Shakespeare School’s Foundation and the Women’s Equality Party. I love learning about the etymology of language and I found writing quotes on another’s behalf challenging, but I learnt a lot from having to put myself in someone else’s shoes, and change my tone of voice. I found that writing in Atlas’ tone of voice was not an easy task; I wanted to intertwine Atlas’ values of empathy, bravery, open, creative, collaborative, honesty in my writing, but until now had only written with an analytical approach.

I saw first-hand how a client meeting takes place, which for me was a very new and exciting experience. The discussion consisted of us agreeing on a scope of work and how Atlas Partners could help our pro bono charity for the year. Hearing Vanessa pitch and seeing the engagement with the new clients was inspiring for me. We showed our expertise in their area, and the way Atlas Partners drew on past client experience and knowledge was extremely impressive. The format of the meeting was very interesting, we took our whole team, (although Atlas are growing we could all, just about, fit in the same room) to introduce everyone to our new clients. This allowed the full Atlas team to thoroughly understand what the client would need going forward. The pro-activity of Atlas Partners; wanting to build a strong relationship with our pro-bono client from the get go, in my eyes showed the personality behind the brand.

The strategy day was by far the best day of my whole experience. With a series of presentations from each of the team and group discussions on competitor analysis, client satisfaction and marketing updates amongst brainstorms, it was amazing to be a part of. I found it a completely different experience, as this wasn’t something I had ever learnt in the classroom. It gave me an insight into the challenges a start-up company can face, learning how Atlas dealt with those so well. I found it thought-provoking to be part of an honest discussion about the company’s possible weaknesses, as well as brainstorming the opportunities the company needed to seize in the coming year.

My favourite part of the strategy session was the tone of voice presentation from Emma Vasey. Not only did I find it interesting and something I will take on and use in the future, but also it helped me understand the tone of voice that Atlas Partners use, we want to come across as knowledgeable and strategic whilst showing our personality.

I have learnt leadership skills from both Vanessa and Charlie, who I believe work so effectively together, both challenging and motivating the team. The way Vanessa conducted the meetings, her enthusiastic and vibrant approach, engaged us all, and I have learnt so much from her style of leadership. She delegates perfectly, guiding the team and making them believe in achieving their full potential.

In these modern times work experience has become necessary in application for University. However, I feel it is also necessary to understand the world you want to work in. Working at Atlas Partners has helped my passion for political communications grow. I have learnt skills from working on projects and listening to presentations, but also by osmosis from watching the team working on their roles within the company. Every member brings so much to the team and I saw the importance of the close-knit relationships in action. Ideas were constantly bounced around the office because of the openness between the team, each individual called upon for their expertise. One thing I noticed was the hard-working nature of the team and the way they all put the company’s needs first. Each team member seemed to learn whilst working together, giving a real feel of collaboration.

I have been inspired by everyone at Atlas Partners, and want to personally thank them for welcoming me into their office in such a friendly way. Each of them has taught me something I will definitely take away with me and I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to work with them. I would recommend work experience at Atlas Partners to any student who wants an insight into the corporal, political and media facing world, but also anyone who is interested in starting up a business.

My experience at Atlas Partners has been one that I won’t forget, I have learnt so much from the invaluable opportunity. I would sincerely recommend it to anyone interested.   

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