A year at Havas Lynx

Blog

Harriot Mather, a third year Medical Biochemistry student from Manchester University has recently carried out her placement year with Havas Lynx. As our new placement students and over 40 new graduates join us for 2016, Harriot looks back on her time spent working with the company.

First of all I would like to introduce myself. My name is Harriot Mather, and I am a third year Medical Biochemistry student currently on placement at Havas Lynx. Despite the fact that I am a life-sciences student, I have never really been interested in a career in research. I am of course interested in science, the biochemical basis for disease and how this directly affects the human body. As an original medical applicant, one of my main goals in life has always been to help people and make a positive difference to the lives of others in one way or another. I of course understand the importance of research, and that the breakthroughs made lead to helping people all over the world. However, I’m a sociable person who likes to be involved in discussion and debate, I am also quite a creative person, and I thoroughly enjoyed studying art and design at A-level. A combination of these facts led me to the conclusion that a career in research and lab science was not for me. I knew that I needed to use this opportunity to explore alternative career options available to a life-sciences graduate.

Fortunately, after nine months of reading emails from the Career’s office with no success, the Havas Lynx placement opportunity was advertised. I spent time with the careers advisors working on my application and my interview technique, submitted my application and fortunately I was invited for an interview. My first interview went well, I was given a tour of the office and I knew straight away that this was the sort of place I would like to work. I received a call back a few days later, which I nervously answered. I was being invited to a second interview, which of course was good news however I was slightly concerned being mid-way through summer exams. I attended my second interview the day before my final exam. This one was slightly more formal than the first; however I was still made to feel comfortable and welcome by everyone that I met. I received a call back that same day to let me know I had been selected. I was absolutely over the moon! They asked if I could start ASAP, however I had some plans for the following few months so we agreed that I would start work in August.

I was pleased to find out that I was starting on the same day as quite a few others; I wouldn’t be the only new girl which was quite a relief. We attended some inductions, and then were taken to our new desks. The colleagues I would be sharing a desk with were in a meeting by the time I had returned from the inductions, however they had left me a note on a post-it to let me know which I thought was really sweet. I was originally a little nervous, but really excited about the year ahead.

Working at an agency, life is fast-paced. Days, weeks and even months pass in a blink. It’s easy to get caught up in the job itself. I didn’t feel like a placement student, and I certainly was not treated like one. I was treated as a valued member of the team from the get-go. I was gradually assigned more and more responsibility. I participated in group discussions, interacted with clients. I was a part of the graduate scheme and was expected to perform at the same level as my peers. But I loved it. My official job title is ‘account executive’. However, throughout my time on placement I had the opportunity to learn about all manner of job roles. Collaboration is key to the success of any agency. The strategy and copy teams must work together to ensure that the key messages and objectives translate through the copy. The copy and creative teams should work closely to create a captivating and compelling story. Each sub-team interlinks with one another to form the agency. It is the accounts team’s responsibility to ensure that the team is aligned and motivated to help create the best outcome for the clients, and therefore for patients.

As I previously mentioned, I have been included in the 2015 graduate scheme. This was kicked off by ‘Freshers Week’ back in October. A fun-filled, jam-packed week of skills development and team building exercises. The next major part of the graduate programme is ‘Worksmarts’. Here we  left the office to stay offsite for three days of intense activity designed to challenge, test, and stretch the skills we have been developing over the past 12 months. We worked in teams to develop ideas, which we then pitched to some of the company directors, which is both exciting and a little daunting at the same time! As part of the graduate scheme, we are expected to develop a specific set of behaviours that will help our personal and professional development. These behaviours include: curious, personally credible, driven to deliver, collaborative and consultative. We have had to self-evaluate on these behaviours, as well as eight specific deliverables (understanding the agency, quality control, financial and time management, science, strategy, creative, technology and client services) and I personally feel that I have come so far since starting.

Last but not least, I would be doing Havas Lynx a disservice if I failed to mention #LYNXLife. The concept was developed some years ago in an attempt to maintain the original culture that was felt in the earlier stages of the agency’s lifetime. From the smaller weekly perks like breakfast Mondays (free breakfast – pastries, fresh fruit, bagels you name it), and office dog days (employees are allowed to bring their dogs to the office – it’s like a dream come true) to the more extravagant soirée’s. Since I started working at Lynx last August, we have been for countless amounts of team meals, team drinks, we’ve been bowling and took parts in activities such as ‘Break Out’ and ‘Geocache Manchester’ which involved a sort of treasure hunt in which we had to answer questions related to particular location checkpoints around the city centre. We celebrated our achievements at the #LXAcademy Awards which was held at the incredible town hall. It was an extravagant black tie event with special guest speakers, great food and dancing into the early hours. My team swiped an impressive three awards overall (best motion, best pitch and grand prix) which of course we were thrilled about. We were celebrating into the early hours, and needless to say there were a few sore heads in the office the following morning! We received some insight into the company at the annual company update which was held at the Albert Hall back in January. Here we received a general update from CEO David Hunt, a presentation from Chief Creative Officer Tom Richards on the new approach to creative at the agency, as well as some great presentations from LXLTs from each of the individual agencies. Following the presentations the chairs were cleared and we enjoyed performances from some local talent celebrating 30 years of Manchester. May 2016 was an important month for Havas Lynx; it was the company’s 30th birthday. We started the day down at HOME, with a live Q&A session and interview with the inspiring Mr Matt Eagles, and a presentation on how we can use Big Data to improve outcomes for patients and save billions of pounds for healthcare systems worldwide at the same time form the incredible Dr Jack. Following this, we had canapes and prosecco before heading over to Gorilla to continue with the celebrations. We had great food, delicious cocktails, and had endless fun in the photo booth. We danced all night and celebrated 30 years of Manchester with performances from a live band, and ex-Hacienda DJ David Haslam. What an incredible day spent with some incredible people, and to top it all off, we got to witness one of my colleagues Chris crowd surf! My motto ‘work hard play harder’ definitely applies at Havas Lynx. We work incredibly hard, day-in-day-out. We stay late, and work through lunch breaks most days too. But this work ethic just emphasises the fact that we as a team are passionate about creating the best work possible for our clients, and in the long term bringing about the best outcomes for patients. It also reflects the fact that the company are so willing to give back to their employees and reward the hard work that we all put in.

My experience of working in a professional environment has taught me so much. Being surrounded by such talented, experienced and inspiring individuals has helped me grow on both a professional and a personal level. I feel so lucky to have found a placement that was such a perfect fit for me. I have built working relationships and made friends for life over the past year.If you are a hard-working, motivated, sociable individual that is ready to get stuck in to the working world, but are not necessarily sure that a lab based placement, or permanent graduate role would be for you, I would highly recommend getting in touch with Havas Lynx.