A view from the bottom
A view from Alexandra Shetcliffe

A view from the bottom

Wow! Never thought this redhead would be typing this. A "typical" week is jam-packed with briefings, client meetings, researching, drinks and, of course, the usual office banter.

I was lucky enough to join a great, dynamic team. PHD's new Unilever Global Strategy Unit has great diversity, including folk from New Zealand, Australia, China, Portugal, Poland, Italy, France and London. This team is full of original ideas and the environment is open and welcoming.

It looks after an amazing range of brands from Magnum and Surf to Knorr and Vaseline. I work on Unilever haircare and skincare, so I am able to work with impressive brands that I have not only grown up with but use on a daily basis. Already, I have handled TRESemmé, Dove, Sunsilk, Toni & Guy… the list is endless.

Monday morning I am a busy bee. I have a quick catch-up with my fellow grads about our weekend antics. Then off for a rundown with my team about the upcoming week. My to-do list grows with each minute. New brief is in and I have to imagine I’m a thirty-something woman from India to work out my habits and media behaviour.

Tuesday, I start the day prepping for a client meeting. Once I have returned to my desk, I put my earphones in with music blasting into my ears. I am using the in-house planning system called Source. It is an amazing tool that enables the team to access data to look at the target audience, channel recommendations and optimisation. It can also be used internally to share ideas with colleagues. Points are rewarded for participation. One of my fellow grads tells me he is beating me on the leader board. Men are so competitive!

Wednesday involves a trawl through all of the Post-its piling up around my computer. I am then in a conference call with the client, the creative agency and PHD colleagues to discuss strategy and media directions for an upcoming product. All is top secret and I’m buzzing when I return to the floor.

Thursday is spent learning from the views of publishers and editors at an IPC Media seminar. As grads, we have been given sacks full of training already. Sessions at Google, the Radio Advertising Bureau and the IPA have all helped to build my skills. Towards the end of the month, we usually have "skint night". This is when the company puts on drinks before payday. Another Thursday ritual involves our floor having snacks and drinks at one of our locals – thankfully, I am not feeling too worse for wear on Friday.

Coming to the end of my week, we do not have the usual Friday. On our floor, we have "theme Fridays", for which we have to dress up in attire suiting the chosen theme (examples include French chic, Comic Relief or cowboys). E-mails continuously fill my inbox as I am busy contacting local media agencies to see how far each project is progressing.

I am definitely like a sponge, absorbing every learning experience to the max. Life is good on the third floor.

Alexandra Shetcliffe is a team executive at PHD