We hear from students time and time again that finding opportunities that will actually help you develop professionally can be extremely challenging at times. That’s why when Lola and Johnny heard about L’Oréal USA’s Diverse Future Leaders Fellowship, they knew they had to apply!
The L’Oréal USA’s Diverse Future Leaders Fellowship launched in Spring of 2020 when L’Oréal USA wanted to create a new way to support students of diverse backgrounds in their career journey. 50 USA based students across all majors and schools are selected every year for this unique, year-long, immersive program where Fellows, as participants are called, receive unparalleled business knowledge, gain mentors, and are fast tracked for prestigious summer internships at the world’s #1 Beauty Tech company, L’Oréal.
To give you an insider’s perspective into this program, we chatted with current Fellows Lola (Chemical Engineering major at Louisiana State University) and Johnny (Global Business major with a concentration in Global Marketing with Consumer Insights at Fordham University) who reflected on all of the amazing opportunities they had during their Fellowship. Here’s what they had to say about their experience.
Education and Resources
When Johnny and Lola first started their Fellowship, there was an immediate emphasis on learning, development, and upskilling. In fact, when asked to describe the L’Oréal Fellowship in three words, Johnny chose educational, eye-opening, and rewarding. “Educational for sure, with the eLearnings and monthly sessions where we talked about L’Oréal and the beauty industry, eye-opening because it helped me realize my career goals, and rewarding because it has led me to a summer internship with them,” said Johnny.
Throughout the course of the Diverse Future Leaders Fellowship, Fellows engage in monthly topic-based seminars given by leaders from across different business areas. This allows Fellows to deep dive into a specific function, see project management in action, and understand the importance of cross-functional team working.
Fellows are also given exclusive access to L’Oréal’s eLearning platform, as Lola described, “L’Oréal has been gracious enough to give us some of the eLearnings that even their company members watch as well.” She explained that L’Oréal’s eLearnings are interactive activities that help Fellows develop skills on topics like project management, team working, and leadership styles.
“One e-learning I truly love was about figuring out what type of leader you are, and how to adapt and work in different groups, that truly helped me. I’m in my junior year now, and we’re working in groups. I realized I am a personable leader, but I am also dominant so I would like things done at a certain time. I learned how to better communicate, and better respond to people to get the desired results,” said Lola.
One on One Mentorship
A key part of the L’Oréal USA Diverse Future Leaders Fellowship program is that all Fellows are assigned individual mentors to work with during the duration of their Fellowship. Mentors go through a pairing process to make sure they are able to meet their mentee’s needs and they are often members of L’Oréal USA’s employee Think Tanks, also known as employee resource groups.
“One of the things I truly loved is the fact that we have one on one mentors. My mentor is Ms. Balanda Atis—she’s a revolutionary scientist for brands and products made for diverse people,” Lola shared with us. Since Lola has a goal of being a makeup formulator one day, a mentor with a similar background and functional expertise made her a perfect match. During past networking experiences, Lola has had a hard time finding out how people made it to their roles, so her mentor’s openness was refreshing and beneficial.
Both Johnny and Lola mentioned how valuable transparency was in the relationship they have with their mentors. As Johnny noted, “I felt like I could be open with him, and at one point we talked about the importance of mental health and work-life balance.”
Johnny’s mentor has been a constant and supportive presence throughout the Fellowship. “In practice and in a learning environment, my mentor helped me a lot with communication. He helped me write important emails and phrase things in a professional context. He was there to answer any questions I had for him,” said Johnny.
Reimagining Career Goals
Before the Fellowship, both Johnny and Lola were struggling to figure out how their majors and interests would help them in their careers. Through meetings with their mentors and programming, “The Fellowship has helped me figure out what I want to do,” said Lola.
As a chemical engineering major, she wasn’t sure how to translate that into a career in the CPG world until participating in the program. “I want to be a formulator, but I also want to be some sort of scientific communication. I want to be the centerpiece of explaining the science piece to non-science people.”
For Johnny, the Fellowship gave him a new point of view and ultimately led to a shift in his overall perspective. “My career goals changed with the fellowship, I was committed to marketing or advertising agencies, but being in the Fellowship made me realize that I wanted to explore marketing inhouse,” said Johnny. “It led me to apply to and ultimately land a summer marketing internship at L’Oréal. My goal is to secure a full-time job at L’Oréal after the internship.”
To help Fellows achieve their career goals, L’Oréal provides personalized advice and career coaching from recruitment experts to prepare for interviews at L’Oréal and beyond. No matter your major or background, L’Oréal’s Diverse Future Leaders Fellowship Program can help you narrow your career goals, give you access to a network of peers and mentors, and help with your professional development while pursuing your education.
Why You Should Apply
Johnny’s and Lola’s stories aren’t uncommon at L’Oréal, because of the company’s commitment to supporting diverse, entrepreneurial, rising college talent. Whether you’re interested in creating the future of beauty tech like Lola, want to revolutionize and create disruptive marketing campaigns like Johnny, or are seeking career advice and guidance, there’s a place for you in L’Oréal USA’s Diverse Future Leaders Fellowship.
Applications for the Fellowship program are open usually from November – February, so make sure to check L’Oréal’s company page to see if applications are open now!
If you’re interested in joining this year’s class of Fellows click here to apply.
BONUS TIP: Here are some quick tips from Lola and Johnny to help you navigate the application and interview process.
“Be honest, be truthful, be raw—write your heart,” said Lola.
“Be yourself, L’Oréal wants people for this program who embrace who they are,” said Johnny.