Blog : stars and stripes

How I earned my Stripes

How I earned my Stripes

With the applications for the 2018 Stars & Stripes graduate programme closing later on Friday 4th May, I thought this would be a good time to reflect on my experience of the programme, which kicked off a year ago today when I submitted my own application.

What happened next?

Stripe contacted me the following week to let me know I had successfully reached the interview stage of the process, which would be taking place on Stripe’s canal boat/meeting room… ‘the barge.’ An onslaught of thoughts flew through my mind; what would the competition be like? What would I be asked in the interview? Who would be interviewing me? And most importantly, was I going to get seasick on the barge?!

The interview was tough, there’s no point sugarcoating it. When you are up against fierce competition to work for a shit hot company, what can you expect? After a presentation from the managing director, we were put through our paces in speed dating style interviews and a tough timed writing test. Although challenging, the session was really enjoyable and gave us our first insight into what it was like to be a ‘Stripe’.

After this, I received the amazing news that I had a place on the Stars & Stripes programme and my first day arrived in no time.

Slotting into life at Stripe

Any nerves I had about starting my new role were very quickly quashed when I was welcomed so warmly into the team and given a detailed introduction to the accounts I was going to be working on and the training that we would be receiving.

From day one, development was a huge focus and I joined the Stripe Academy programme. As part of this, we took part in sessions on everything from account management to writing skills and pitching, to evaluation and reporting. All of these helped me feel totally equipped to carry out my work day to day.

What to expect as one of the Stars & Stripes

I was catching up with my university lecturers recently and said to them: “if you’d have asked me this time last year what I would have expected to have done and achieved in just a year, I would never have expected it to have been this much.”

It’s a common belief that on many graduate programmes you play a bit of a background role, not really getting involved in key projects, however, at Stripe this couldn’t be further from the truth. On my first week, I set off to Glasgow to attend a photocall followed by a client meeting at The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square about the swanky launch party that was taking place later in the year.

Since then, I have written media releases, social copy and procedures, planned parties, launched products, worked on digital ad campaigns, received a promotion… and this is only half of it!

Applications for the Stars & Stripes graduate programme close at 5pm on Friday 4th May. To find out more and how to apply, click here

One month in…

One month in…

Attending photo shoots, organising event openings, liaising with clients and colleagues alike, contributing ideas to management in team meetings and panic buying BBQ kits from B&Q – my first month at Stripe has been a whirlwind!

There is no typical day at Stripe, and the above are only a handful of the things I have been tasked with during my first six weeks of a three month placement as a Stars and Stripes graduate.

My fear for when I finished University was that I would be resigned to sitting at a desk repeating the same duties day in day out. Or worse still my duties would only extend to making the office tea and coffee. However from the moment I stepped into the Stripe office on my first day I knew that this wasn’t going to be an everyday “9-5” office job.

Starting a new job is never easy, and I have to admit that I was extremely nervous on that first Monday. As a recent Media graduate, I had never worked for a communications agency before and had very little understanding of what my job would entail.

In my role, I’ve been allocated five exciting accounts, each presenting its own unique workload. I have learnt first-hand what different businesses want their products and services to say about them – and the importance of getting it right. First-hand experience trumps text book learning any day!

The office environment at Stripe is fast-paced and lively. There is always a deadline to meet, creative brainstorming sessions to attend and media mail outs to prepare (bubble wrap has become my best friend at times!)

Stripe actively encourages its staff to contribute their individual thoughts and opinions and there is never a dull moment. This keeps me on my toes which makes my role so exciting. In the short time I have been at Stripe, I have learnt how important it is to use my initiative but equally how important it is to ask for help when needed.

As you might have gathered, working for a busy comms agency can be a bit overwhelming at times but without challenges, a job can become boring and where’s the excitement in that?!