WayUp teamed up with seven Unilever interns who wrote about what it’s like to work for a company that makes products used by 2.5 billion people around the world. Today’s post is from Saniya Jaffer, a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a former IT intern. Saniya took us through a day at her Unilever internship.
7:13AM: I leave my Upper West Side walk-up and begin my commute to the office. Unilever has a shuttle service that picks up on the East and West sides of Manhattan. When leaving the office, the reverse commute has less traffic, which makes living in Manhattan and working in New Jersey possible!
8:00AM: I walk into Unilever’s brand-new office and settle down in one of the phone booths. The agile workspace makes it easy to move around and pick a space that fits what you’re doing at the moment. I have an early call this morning with someone on our IT team in Bangalore, India. He is helping me get a better idea of the requirements for an integration that is a big part of my project.
This is probably my favorite part about working here—being a part of a company as large and international as Unilever gives employees access to an unimaginable knowledge base. And, the centralized systems make it SO easy to communicate and connect.
10:30AM: After updating my project plan and sending out some emails, I get on my next call with our app developers in the Netherlands. My project this summer involves managing the development and implementation of a new enterprise app. This means weekly progress and update calls with the team, connecting their team with the relevant contacts within Unilever, and helping them progress by setting deliverables and due dates.
Today’s meeting is unconventional: their team is going to be doing a demo of the functionality of the app so far. In addition to our two teams, individuals from the Unilever global IT team are on the call as well—they work in the UK but are an integral part of maintaining standards throughout the company.
12:00PM: I catch up with my manager on the way to the cafeteria. She updates me on a recent conversation regarding art and branding around our new building. We start to discuss the idea of graffiti as art, and pull up pictures of our favorite international street artists.
1:00PM: I work on my final deliverables for the end of the summer so the project is aligned after my time here is over. There are a lot of meetings at Unilever, and I’ve realized that setting aside a good chunk of dedicated work time each day is really important.
5:00PM: I quickly chat with the other IT interns about the progress of the service event we are planning for the IT department. The foundation of Unilever as a company lies in the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, which connects most of our brands and our overall business goals to social and environmental initiatives and projects. I genuinely feel that the work I do everyday is for a bigger purpose, and can tell most of the people I work with are driven by a similar feeling.
5:27PM: As I am rushing to catch the 5:30pm shuttle home, I catch a glimpse of people in the Ice Cream Engagement room (Unilever owns ice cream brands like Ben & Jerry’s and Breyers). They’re taste testing the new Breyer’s Delights flavors that just came out. They offered me some ice cream and I took the vanilla and cookies and cream flavors home.
5:30PM: I hop on the Upper West Side shuttle and realize I am sitting next to the intern director for our IT team. He talks about his perspective on IT project management and gives me a great framework that I mentally jot down as inspiration for my final presentation at the end of my internship, which I keep realizing is approaching very quickly!
From the second I got here, I’ve felt more comfortable than I ever thought I would in a corporate setting. From the work environment, to the people, to my personal project, being at Unilever has motivated me to work exceptionally hard and push myself to learn more, do more, and want more than ever before