Fio Keogh, 3rd year BSc International Management student has spent her placement year working at The Walt Disney Company Head Offices in London, in the Regional Licensing Division. Fio tells us all about her experience.
I am nine months into my placement at The Walt Disney Company. It’s been the opportunity of a lifetime. I work within the company’s regional licensing division. We manage the licensing of Disney’s intellectual property: the famous characters that manufacturers want to put on clothing, games, pencil cases – you name it!
As The Walt Disney Company is the world’s largest licensor for entertainment, it’s given me the opportunity to work with licensees from all over the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East and Africa).
The Walt Disney Head Office in Hammersmith, London is a wonderland. Like the Disneyland parks, the office is a fun and magical experience because of the franchise-themed meetings rooms, Disney-themed cafe and Disney products displayed on each floor of the building.
Imagine having weekly meetings in a Star Wars themed room with storm troopers as you discuss potential product concepts with key licensees for an upcoming product launch. Or sitting next to a life-sized Jack Sparrow statue in a Pirates of the Caribbean room as you attend weekly market calls with category managers from across local markets.
Working for such an influential company within the entertainment industry brings a variety of perks. I love that I can watch new upcoming movie releases owned by The Walt Disney Company in their very own Disney themed cinema. Throughout my placement, I have been fortunate to watch The Lion King, Frozen 2, Toy Story 4 and JoJo Rabbit in this cinema.
Disney’s culture emphasizes the importance of collaboration to achieve success. This is practiced both within the company and with external licensees – the relationship isn’t just about selling licenses, it’s a partnership. I’ve also learnt that Disney’s success comes from an egalitarian culture.
Despite being an intern, I’ve been granted independence and trust. I appreciate how welcoming senior staff, from directors to vice presidents have been towards me. It’s truly made me feel a valued part of the company.
During the placement I’ve applied theoretical knowledge daily whilst developing my understanding of the modules on my course. I’ve also improved my communication, relationship building and team working skills. It’s a very different lifestyle compared to university though, so if you are considering a placement year, ensure you are committed and willing to learn every day.
The King’s Careers’ Take: Fio’s highlighted a really important attribute which is the willingness to keep learning! The pace of life at work might be very different to your academic lifestyle. By developing a “learning mindset”, you will build new skills easier, develop your knowledge further, and really get to maximise the learning gains from your work experiences.
The Walt Disney Company was the first company I applied to when I began my placement applications in October 2018. I was familiar with the brand and the incredible reputation the company has built over the years. I then did background research and read reviews on what it was like to work there and didn’t come across a single negative review. Being given this opportunity for a year seemed like a dream.
I would encourage all students to embark on a placement year. It is a fantastic opportunity to put into practice the theoretical knowledge learnt at university. The opportunities, experiences and knowledge I have been exposed to over the past few months have been invaluable. It is a great opportunity to explore an industry or a career path you’re interested in and it has opened up so many doors/contacts for me after I graduate.
My time at The Walt Disney Company has been everything you would want from a placement year: challenging, exciting and fulfilling.