When we first looked at the enormous building in front of us, we were terrified. We wanted to show up early to make a good impression but by the time we built up the courage to actually walk through the revolving doors and speak to the person behind the desk, we were just on time.
Luckily for us, we were greeted with open arms and everyone was very nice to us, as though we had been working here for years.
First, we met with Isabelle who gave us a whistle-stop tour of the office. Matthew found it incredibly easy to understand the layout whilst Lyna struggled, never really being that good at anything to do with navigation.
The moment when we understood the mood of the office was when Matthew spotted a big plush snake on top of a cupboard. At every turn there was an interesting piece of artwork or incredibly comfortable chair, so we knew that this was not your usual cubicle filled and completely silent office environment. People moved around and talked to each other. We each gave a sigh of relief, realising that this was not going to be a week full of sitting at a desk filing paperwork.
On the first day, we were with the tech department where we were started our day with a meeting with everyone and we were welcomed into the group with a nice Jimmy Fallon gif. Then, we spoke to workers from different Edelman teams where we learnt about what they do and how much they enjoy it. We asked them questions and started to understand what it meant to be an employee at the company.
Other fun things that we did throughout our week were:
- On Tuesday, we hung out with the people from the Edelman Open scheme and played a fiercely competitive (yet jovial) game of pool. They were relatable and kind – a common trait of the employees across the whole company.
- We met with Tony Blair’s ex-political assistant, Anji Hunter, now a Senior Advisor. She was extremely inspiring and welcomed us warmly. She seemed as equally passionate about our lives as we were with her.
- That afternoon, the tech team took us to the Play Well Exhibition, which was both an opportunity to connect with the team and experience a variety of artwork and designs, enriching our cultural minds.
- We were put in charge of the Edelman Instagram in which we were told to take photos of our experience and the things that people don’t usually get to see. This involved a picture of the huge newspaper cow, which Lyna affectionately named Eddie (after Edelman).
- With the Xbox team, we monitored the press for articles about an upcoming game and the latest Xbox console news.
- On Thursday, in the morning, we were treated to both a warm coffee for the harsh cold and rain, and some Nando’s from Sat Dayal for lunch (you’re welcome for the discount). We talked about many topics such as the Immigration Policy, education standards and how PR needs to be advertised so that young people like us can see that it is not just an office job. It is so much more than that.
- There was the monthly Townhall during our week here. It was amazing to see everyone in Edelman all in one place. It really made us realise how many people it takes to make this company as incredible as it is. Many topics were discussed such as improvements to the mental, physical and financial health of employees.
- We learnt about the Edelman Trust Barometer which has been running for 20 years and reveals that despite a strong economy and employment figures, none of the institutions (government, business, NGOs and media) are trusted. We were given interesting facts, such as 56% believe that capitalism as it exists today does more harm than good, which then leads to an alarming trust inequality between the informed public and markets. The study concluded that collaboration is a major opportunity for institutions to advance society and build trust.
All in all, there was never a dull day at Edelman and we were left feeling sad at the prospect of leaving at the end of the week, as we had been showered in so much love and support, whilst also being pushed to develop key skills such as research, communication and keeping to deadlines.
Thank you so much to everyone at the company who accepted us into the office. It was truly an experience that neither of us will forget. You all do an incredible job every day and it is inspiring to young people like us. Once again, thank you,
Lyna Walteros and Matthew Gultekin