Intern-view: Nicole Wong on Christian Dior

A while back I stopped posting here on TBC because I felt like it was becoming a chore and it just wasn’t fun anymore. So, I took a break. A long hiatus that gave me time to reevaluate my life, what I wanted to do, and more importantly what I didn’t want to be doing.

And I’ve realized that I (aka Justine) like doing the blog. But only when it’s answering questions and giving out info that I think is relevant, it’s on my free time, and it’s not me feeling obligated or pressured by some readers to start disclosing everything I know willy-nilly.

So, to get back into the groove of things, I’m going to start posting the huge backlog of Intern-views and #WorkLifeGoals. And a few other things, like my recent trip to Hong Kong for #RISEconf.

I’d appreciate it if you guys gave constructive criticism: what works, what can be improved, and most importantly, what are you struggling with. What companies do you want to see an Intern-view from? What’s the hardest part of internship and job hunting? What do you wish you could just google the answers to?

Drop your answers to that in ask.fm/thebordercollective or in an email to me at justine@thebordercollective.com if you’re willing to start a conversation on it. So without further ado, almost a year late edition of Intern-view with an intro by Bea Pelayo.


Hey guys! It’s been a while since we featured a girl here on Intern-view, so tonight it’s going to be an estrogen overload as we get to know about a super girly girl who interned at Parfums Christian Dior (how amazing is that?) during Ateneo’s long summer break of 2015. Her internship was really cool since she helped launch the first ever Christian Dior boutique here in the Philippines (sorry for spoiling!), and in a bit we’ll get to learn more about how she did it.

“What’s with the female hormones?,” you might wonder. Well, when I was talking to Nicole most of what I saw were the stereotypical girly things, and I mean this in a good way. Her friends would always describe her as “fashown”, and she’s the type of girl who talks in a high-pitched voice whenever there are dogs or other cute things. She’s also passionate about fashion and art, and she dreams of becoming a fashion designer someday. Check out her IG for some #ahrt! (@nicyannawong)

When I asked her to describe herself, Nicole said she’s an empowered woman; she’s career-oriented and independent. When she was still in school, she was that classmate you’d want to have in your group because she’s always the reliable one. Her orgmates also dubbed her as their org’s marketing goddess not just because of being so good at getting sponsors but also for training her colleagues.

And when I asked her to give five random facts about herself, she just made me conclude how girly of a girl she was.

  1. I underwent my school’s study abroad program and I had the time of my life studying Luxury and Fashion Management in a fashion school in Paris!
  2. I want to become a fashion designer ever since I was a wee little girl.
  3. I am obsessed with doggies!!!
  4. To beat typical touristy photos, I make paper dolls (which I call as Paper Darlings) and take photos of them in the landmarks, instead of me being in the photo. (omg gets ba? Lol if not, check attached photo or my IG or #PaperDarling lol)
  5. Almost everything I own is pink, except for clothes. I only have a few pink pieces.

Girl power wins tonight, was I right? Anywho, I won’t keep you waiting too long. Ladies and gentlemen, here comes tonight’s Intern-viewee, Nicole!


How did you find and pick this internship?

It was internship-seeking season where everybody was scrambling to find an internship so they can put the 4-month summer vacation to good use. One day, I just received a phone call from my blockmate, inviting me to apply to this beauty company. She felt bad for turning them down, so she was looking for a replacement. I researched the company and found that they house many of my favorite brands, so I applied right away.

 

Why did you choose to intern?

Internships aren’t required for my course, but we had a 4-month break thanks to the calendar shift. I might as well gain some skills and experience, rather than just bum around.

 

How was the experience of applying and being interviewed for the internship?

I was on a family trip when I received a call from the HR manager, asking me my availability for an interview, so imagine my surprise! She said that if ever, she is assigning me to Make Up For Ever. Ok cool! Fast forward to the interview, I got the biggest surprise of my life, when the receptionist informed me that the brand manager of Dior was the one who was going to interview me. I panicked a little since I was so not prepared! But of course, I got super excited also because OMG DIOR??!!! And I finally get to apply (and show off) what I learned in Paris!

As soon as I met the brand manager, all the panic instantly disappeared. She gave off a strong sense of familiarity that it feels like I was meeting my twin. The interview itself went pretty well. We instantly hit it off! It felt like we were just chatting. The questions were pretty standard – personal information, questions from my resume, etc. She also took the time to inform me of the busy calendar of Dior that year (which doubled my excitement).

But that’s not the end of it. Coincidentally, THE HEAD of Dior Philippines just came in and said he also wanted to interview me. So the panic arose again. This time, my interview was done very professionally and with utmost seriousness. Although that is so, he gave subtle hints that he was already going to get me, saying things like “… a valuable candidate such as yourself…” (or something like that), which spurred a rage of excitement once again (but I maintained my decorum, of course).

 

What would you say were the skills you needed when you applied? Did you pick up any new skills throughout your internship?

During both interviews, the bulk of the questions were about my past experiences. Some people, especially parents, think that you only have to study hard to get a good job, but in reality, hiring managers look at experience. They want you to show them what you’ve done and how capable you are.

Throughout the internship, I did learn new skills such as handling employees, store merchandising, Excel tools, Photoshop, events management, PR and day-to-day operations.

 

What was your expectation for the internship? How did the actual experience compare?

I knew from the start that it’s not a glamorous job and that I was going to do all the dirty work. And I did. But they also trusted me with important tasks, which I really appreciated because it made me feel like I was not just some lowly clueless intern. It made me feel like I was really a significant member of the Dior team. There was even one time when both of my superiors were out of the country, so that technically made me the temporary head of Dior Philippines! LOL.

 

What did you do during your internship? What kinds of tasks and projects were you given? Did you volunteer to take on a task yourself?

I helped out with PR events, like a product launch and more importantly, the opening of the first ever Dior boutique in the Philippines! Apart from that, I did operational activities like managing stocks and testers, sales reports, press kits, and so on. I also revived their Instagram account, creating content and significantly increasing its follower count.

 

How would you describe the working environment you were in?

I really like the culture there. Everyone’s friends with everyone. You can even crack jokes and chat with your superiors. Even the interns from sister brands would definitely attest to that. But of course, there are still professional limits.

 

In school, luxury brands are not typically made a focus of discussions and cases. What insights did you gain from working for one? What are some similarities and differences it has, especially in terms of marketing, with the usual FMCGs, F&B, etc.?

Luckily, since I took up Luxury and Fashion Management, I was already familiar with how luxury brands work. However, I found myself still completely surprised when I actually interned for one. I didn’t realize that luxury brands require more work than usual. Because of their tight focus on brand image and customer experience, I had to learn to be anal and OC. Everything has to be perfect and “Diorific” in the customer’s eyes.

 

Would you consider working for Christian Dior in the future?

Honestly, no, because I plan to pursue my first love, fashion. And I want to build my own brand in the future. But I consider myself very lucky to have been exposed to the secrets of a very prestigious brand.

 

What would you say were the best parts about your internship?

The people, most definitely. I had the coolest boss, who is still one of my dear friends ‘til today. The Dior general manager is also a total sweetheart despite his tough exterior! And I got to work with my close college friends, who interned in sister brands. (Their bosses are also so fun!) Truly, without these people, I wouldn’t have loved my stay in Dior as much. They made all the difference.

 

What would you say were the worst parts about your internship (or interning in general)?

Traffic! I live around 1.5 to 2 hours away from the office by car, so it was a struggle. Not to mention those awful moments when I got stuck in the infamous Friday pay day rush hour traffic in the Makati area. Not cute.

 

If you could go back in time to the first day of your internship, what is one piece of advice you would have given yourself?

I’d say to myself, “The people here trust you. They will assign crucial tasks to you because they know you can do it, so stop doubting yourself.”

 

What was the most interesting thing you did at your internship?

The highlight of my internship was the Dior boutique opening. It was a grand launch and I saw a lot of famous celebrities, personalities and business moguls, whom I got to mingle with! It was such an amazing event! Everything was spot-on. The regional executives from Singapore were also quite pleased. And to think that I was part of those who helped make it all happen, now that’s something incredible.

 

What would you say was your greatest learning from interning?

I’ve learned many things about running a brand that I can never learn in school, but the most valuable learning that I’ve gotten was about myself. In working for Dior, I’ve gotten to know myself better – my capabilities, limitations, mindset, tendencies and even my dreams for the future. And this has led me to find myself and to gain self-confidence.

 

What advice would you give anybody who wants/is about to start interning?

For all starting to intern, don’t forget to make the most out of it! Don’t just complete tasks. Observe how the business runs. Observe how your superiors deal with things. Ask questions. It will be a short stay, so maximize all opportunities to learn and grow.

 

Anything else you want to share with the readers?

One last note, as early as the application process, ask about the company culture already, because no matter how fun or amazing your work is, if you don’t fit in the culture, then I wish you all the luck in the world.

Hit me up on Instagram (@nicyannawong) if you have any more questions or simply want to see some cute fashion doodles! =)))

Thank you all for reading!!!


And that’s one down from the backlog, and what an interesting one. I never knew Christian Dior had a real office in the Philippines. The things you learn from running Intern-views lol.

If you’re still looking for stuff to read, or you’re still thinking “who the fuq are these people”, read 10 Things We Learned at Unilever Business Week or Why You Should Be Attending Conferences.

If you have anything you want to ask, say, or comment about to either Betina or me, email us at either justine@thebordercollective.com or betina@thebordercollective.com! For partnerships and business deals, you can email us at admin@thebordercollective.com!

And if you want to get a faster reply, message us on The Border Collective’s Facebook page!

If you have any questions to ask us anonymously or anything you want us to write about, drop it into our ask.fm and Google Form!

Thanks for reading and hope Nicole wrote something useful for you! 🙂

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