All these resolutions I didn’t keep….

First of all let me wish you all a very happy 2013!!! 2012 had its ups and downs but I have a feeling that 2013 will be an amazing year.

So last year I posted the following new year resolutions on this blog, let’s see how I have done with that. As we will guess, not that great as I wanted to as I forgot about most of these resolutions as soon as February started.

1) I will be more consistent in my training: NOT REALLY, Yes I did workout and ran my second half marathon in a time I was really happy with but I wasn’t as consistent as I wish I would have been!

2) I will graduate (that’s for sure) with a 1st class degree! : YES! It did happen, happy days 🙂

3) I will STOP stalking people on Facebook and Twitter when I am bored: NO!  that didn’t happen. At all. I am not sure if it is stalking but I am doing a lot of Facebook/Twitter procrastination. Especially when I am in the library..

4) I will cook more often  and  try to avoid spending money on crappy food. NO! I had FAR too much of this in 2012. And let me tell you, after seeing this KFC brain picture I think I’ll stay away from junk food for a while !

5) I will lose a bit more weight : NOT REALLY, I think I lost a kilo compared to last year. That is after a week of gym. So ermmmm

6) I will get a new job and move forward : YES and NO. Right so I am still in the same job but I also have a new job at the General Assembly where I am a teacher for their user acquisition marketing course. It is really relevant to what I want to do so I guess to this extend I moved forward..

7) I will visit a new country (at least) : NO! And if there is one resolution I wish I would have been able to keep it is this one. Bring on 2013 and its travels!

8) I will read more and perfect my English: YES! I think the reading part is a big yes. Indeed the main difference between being an undergraduate and a postgraduate student is definitely the amount of required reading. The last three months of 2012 have been spent reading, day, night, lunch,at the gym, in bed, in the tube, everywhere!

9) I will call my mum more often YES! That I did, O2 is certainly happy about it and my bank account isn’t. But I am glad I did. I love my mum and living away from home actually brought us closer. And I know she misses me so let’s make her smile more and call more 🙂

10) I will learn to sometimes put myself first :YES! I actually did that a lot more. And it feels great!

VERDICT: 5 out of 10 

Right, not great but hey I won’t beat myself up too much. Instead I’ll try to actually make these 5 missing resolutions happen. To this I’d add

1) Pass my masters: And not especially with a distinction although it would be great,a merit would be good too!

2) Get a new job in my field of studies: This is THE resolution of the year. IT’s not even a resolution really but is HAS to happen

3) Spend more time with my friends and family: A normal Monday to Friday rota should hopefully help doing that!

4) Keep going to the theatre classes: Because I love it and it helps me to learn a lot on myself

5) Stop drinking diet coke on an everyday basis: Because let’s be honest as much as I love it is isn’t really good for my body. And now that I am soon to be in the 30’s side I might as well show some love to this body.

That is it I think. What about you? Any good resolutions this year?

Advertisements

Thanks to cloudflare you can now use Google analytics on your wordpress.com blog. Here is how:

Dear reader,

Yes… I haven’t blogged for a while. Now I must say that it wasn’t because I was on holiday tanning and enjoying delicuous cocktails. (I wish…). I have actually been really busy with my master degree at the London School of Economics and Political Science. I am loving my course as well as the uni.

So, today I am writing a post about Google analytics. Why? Well, I am currently a teacher assistant with General Assembly london working on their 8 weeks Customer Acquisition Marketing course. As part of the course content is on Google analytics I realised that I still haven’t installed it on my blog.

As I was looking on line to find a solution to finally be able to use Google analytics on my blog I came across this article. The article was really useful but I struggled to install the DNS names as I am not self hosted and purchased my domain through wordpress.com.

So here is a tuturial to help you install Google analytics on your worpress.com blog given that you purchased your domain through wordpress!

1. Install Cloudflare as jonathonbalogh explains here 

2. At the end of the installation cloudflare ask you to update your name servers

change name servers

3. Leave this window open and go to your blog dashboard. There select store –> Domains

desktop

3. Under the menu “What would you like to do” click  Make changes to DNSadd domain

4. If you have never accessed this settings before you will be asked to enter a username and password. Chose a username and password. Remember to copy your customer reference number at this stage. you will need it on the next page!

Customer number

5. Click on manage your domains. You will be ask your costumer reference number and your password before being taken to the next page. Click on your website name. Once on the page click on set nameservers.

set name servers

6. Change the names of nameserver 1 and nameserver2  for the ones given to you by cloudfare.

nameservers1

7. If you haven’t done so before you must create a Google analytics account.  go to http://www.google.co.uk/analytics/ and create an account. You will then get a tracking ID.

8. On cloudlfare click on Settings –> cloudflare settings

Cloudfare settings

9. Under setting overview click on Google analytics –> manage

10. Add the tracking code and press enter. Here we go, you are all set up!! 🙂

google analytics

Voila! It seems to be working fine for me 🙂

Get a treat in exchange of a tweet in the Special K “Tweet Shop”

To promote their new range of crisps Kellogg’s opened its fist  Special K “Tweet Shop” in the heart of Soho. Situated in Meard Street the shop look like an old candy shop with bright colours and loads of treats inside.

The lovely sales assistants or should they be called “Tweet assistant”  will welcome you in their lovely red Special K red dress.

The principle is simple, you can get to try their new product in exchange of a tweet that include the hashtag #Tweetshop. If many brands like American Express  already used social media to moneytise Twitter hashtags , the Kellogg’s Special K Tweet shop is the first marketing initiative that combines real-life shopping experience with a social media incentive using social media as a currency.

A really innovative and smart initiative that will probably be repeated in the future by other brands. Social media branding has just started and I am eager to see what new concepts marketers will be coming up with in the future.

The timing was also right on the spot, with the Social Media Week London happening this week in London Kellogg’s did not only created the buzz thanks to the hashtags posted on Twitter but also with all the avid social media users talking about their initiative. And that is exactly what brought me to the store, after reading about it on Twitter I couldn’t wait to see it with my own eyes!

Customers could either send a pre-written tweet or choose to send their own.

What more, you could even tweet from the ipad put at your disposition in the shop.

Visiting the store was a pretty good deal for the customers, indeed for one tweet you will receive 3 pack of crisps!

As these two pictures can confirm Lina and myself were pretty happy after visiting.

I personally believe that the future of experimental marketing lay with social media initiative and this particular initiative was in my opinion really good.

What do you think, would you like to pay for your food by sending a sponsored tweet?

Why I think “every” student should have at least one experience in a Startup

I shall put every under bracket and this because, even if I believe that everyone would benefit from an experience in a startup, some graduates in specific areas won’t benefit directly from such experience. For example if your career goal is to work in one of the top 3 investment banking firms, you might want to go directly for a bigger company. Again, this is open to discussion but you get the point; almost every student should, in my opinion, try to get an experience in a startup.

Indeed if you are a student and you wonder where you could get some valuable experience a startup might just be the place you are looking for. While getting a first experience in a big firm might be really hard (especially in the current economic climate) ,many startup are open to welcome young students/graduates willing to learn and help. I undertook my very first internship in a digital startup last summer and I am now working part-time for WeRInteractve , a social gaming startup based in central London.

I learned a lot from this two experiences and I truly believe that everyone should get at least one experience in a startup environment. That doesn’t necessary involve a desire to work in such environment but you will definitely learn a lot from it. From there you will most definitely have gained skilled that will be essential on your CV, skills that you will be able to sell wherever you want to go.

Here are all the good points I could enlighten while working in a startup:

The good points 

Young team: It’s a fact, startups are (most of the time) filled with young people. You will, most certainly fit into the team really quickly. Felling comfortable is really important, especially as a beginner. You will have loads to learn and will be happy to find young, approachable colleagues to talk to when in need for answers.

Networking: The good thing about working in a small team is that you are able to get to know everybody. The CEO/ Founder might be sitting in the chair next to you and it is up to you to get in contact with everyone. When working in big groups I have always found it really hard to speak to the people I really wanted to speak to. This is not the case in a startup and the contact you can make are really valuable.

Mentoring/ Personal experience: Here again, small team means that your manager will be likely to have more time to train you. In my case , my first manager in InDigital became a guide and a mentor. He has valuable experience and was willing to share advice and tips. He has a great website too so check out what he has to say HERE.

Multiple hats: The nature of a startup makes it likely for you to do many jobs at once. You might do marketing, but also community management, social media, communications, PR,  copy-writing, media editing, production of media content and so on. That might be, at times, overwhelming but it helps you to discover many jobs at once. As a student you are likely to be unsure of what you really want to do in the future. Working in so many different roles might help you figure out non only what you like but also what you are good at!

More responsibilities: Not only you will be involved in many areas , in a startup everyone participate in the shaping of the company. That said, you will likely be able to participate and collaborate on strategic discussions regarding the future of the company. As there is often no middle man, you will have to take decisions by yourself, assess risk and act independently on the name of the company and this really quickly.

Flexibility: When looking for an internship, I struggled to find something that would work around my timetable. I wasn’t able to quit my job for an unpaid or barely paid internship. I found that startups were more flexible. Part time work/ Flexible days ect…

And less good ones…

High risks: If, in the long-term, working for a startup can be extremely rewarding it is also a risk to take. Indeed, the beauty of the startup environment is also its downfall. No one really knows what will be tomorrow. The market might respond differently than expected, the needs might have been overestimated and you basically could lose your job really quickly.

Changes and more changes: Nothing is really settled. From your job title to your working hours, passing by the new co-worker to the company strategies, a startup is continually undergoing changes in order to evolve. If you don’t like changes, this is certainly not the right environment for you.

It is hard work: You might think it is all fun, filled with young people playing around and drinking tea all day. Well, even if the atmosphere is relaxed and nice people work really hard. Everyone is in the same boat to make it happen and most won’t count the hours. All the people I met along my journey in the startup world were really driven and putting the company needs first.

Voilà, my journey in the startup world is over for now. Indeed, today is my last day with WeR and I am going onto new adventures as I am getting ready to start my journey as a graduate student at the LSE.

Any comment or feedback is always welcome. Feel free to share your experience by commenting !

How to fund your postgraduate studies?

It is hard to believe that I haven’t blogged for 3 months already… Times goes fast, especially when you are busy. I took a bit of time off from blogging this summer and this on purpose. Indeed after spending two years writing, researching and reading I felt like I needed a bit of time off. That’s done. I’m back!

In exactly two weeks I will start a new academic year as a postgraduate student at the LSE. If I am now happy and exited at the idea to start my course I have spent most of my summer worrying on how I will actually manage to pay for the fees. Here is a little non-exhaustive list of the facts and tips I learnt along the way:

1) Apply early: Regardless of the kind of funding you are looking after, the competition will be fierce. The number of Studentships and scholarships is limited and many have application deadlines coming as early as December for the next academic year. So don’t waste time and get you application ready as early as possible.

2) Visit the careers and student websites to see what is available for you: You will certainly be able to apply to scholarships and grants within your university, but that is not all you can hope for. There are many scholarships available and some require to fill really specific conditions. So don’t give up at the first rejection and look elsewhere. Websites such as prospects , Scholarship search or again Direct Gouv will be really helpful on finding the informations you are looking for. You can also look into local scholarships. For example there might be financial help available within your council or city. International? Look ar your embassy or national education website, there is probably something for you there.

3) Employed ? Could you be sponsored? If you are already employed, your company could be interested in sponsoring you. In the current economic climate that is pretty unlikely but not impossible. There might be a need in the company for a new accountant and your boss might be happy to pay for your training rather than hiring a newbie. Indeed, you already know the company and the company already knows you. You might have a card to play , so try. If you never try you will never know right?

4) Self-funding option 1: A part-time job: And here I will put “self-funding” under brackets because a part-time job will certainly not cover your fees AND living expenses. But it could at least pay for one of the two. Many universities will provide you with guidelines on the recommended part-time work hours during the academic terms. In my case, the university recommend no more than 15 hours of work a week. I’ll work 16 hours and I am sure I will be fine. Working and studying in the same time is really challenging, yet I have found that it has helped me to be more efficient. Indeed, a student who has a job will be put under tighter time constraints and will consequently have to be more organised in order to succeed in its studies. Saying that it was easy would be a lie, it was hard and I finished the two years absolutely exhausted, but I can now pride myself  to be much more organised thanks to these two years.

5) If all fails: A loan : If, like me, you didn’t manage to secure a scholarship, there is always one option left: A loan.  Now that might be really scary as the interest rates are high and most loans are to be repaid straight away. If you need the money now and want to repay after finishing your studies, there is still one option left : The career and development loan. This loan is proposed by two banks, the co-operative bank  and Barclays. The career and development loan allows you to borrow up to £10.000 at a rate of 9,9% APR. You won’t have to pay anything while you are studying as the Skills Funding Agency will pay the interests while you are learning. You will then start repaying post graduation. That sounds pretty good and is potentially one of the best option out there if everything else fail. However, I will consider this option thoughtfully before taking any loan. The career and development loan, despite being a loan sponsored by a government funding body isn’t comparable to student finance or a governmental loan. You will have to start repaying your loan one month after your graduation and this regardless of your situation. So, if , like me you are taking a loan for your masters, good luck. We better secure a good job post-graduation. And even if I am optimistic about my future, nothing is certain but death and taxes!

How to be time efficient ?

As I finally finished my last semester as an undergraduate student I am back to having a “normal” timetable. A timetable that would include two days off a week. (Even if working in retail it means two random days), still TWO DAYS OFF. And by off I mean completely off. No stress, presentations, power point, articles, essays, reports or deadlines at the back of my mind. A real freedom. And really, the truth is that I better enjoy this sweet freedom. Firstly, because I am starting my Masters in October and since I intend to keep working whilst doing so I am likely to see my time management skills once again challenged . And secondly because in the last weeks the reality has hit me: I will probably have a crazy timetable for many years following graduation. Obviously not as crazy as the last two years 7 days a week rota but pretty busy anyway.

So what is busy day for you? What time would you leave and come back from your house? Is a 15 hours day outside of the house daily routine for most Londoners?

And more importantly:

How do you manage to be efficient and fit everything in one day? 

          1. Get a personal organiser and write everything in it. It really worked for me, my Filofax  have somehow become my best friend. It helps organising your days and you will also avoid the stress of forgetting something. You will also win time by having it always with you so you can plan anything at anytime.

          2.  Put a calendar close to your office desk: You might think that a personal organiser is enough but this should also help you. Indeed when sitting at your desk, studying or working, you can see your deadlines and upcoming events in just a second. Remember to put everything in here !! Indeed don’t recall only deadlines and other work related events but also this romantic dinner you have been invited to on Friday or again this afternoon tea with your girlfriends on Saturday. This way (and even if your calendar looks completely overbooked) you will work harder when needed in order to be able to attend your personal events.

    3. Write to do lists and start with the task you like the least first: That way you are sure to get it done and will end your day with something you enjoy doing (or at least consider easier) consequently finishing the day on a good note!

          4. Every evening, go through everything you have to do the following day and organise it all before going to bed: Pack your gym bag and leave it close to your bed. Prepare your clothes to be worn on the following day and leave them on the chair next to your bed. Pack your books, Filofax ect… Leave your keys and Oyster card in sight on your desk. By organising like this you will have a better sleep with a clear mind of the day ahead and you will, in the meantime, avoid the morning rush and the stress that comes with it.

          5. Try and always work in the place where you will be most efficient: For example, I like being at home, but I know I will get too easily distracted if I write at home. Plus I might need some books from the library. Consequently (and even if the silent study area of the library looked a bit like a prison) I tried to always go to the library and isolate myself. This way you create a good working environment and patterns that are extremely useful to avoid procrastinating and actually do some work.

  6. Set deadlines for yourself: Easier say than done but try to plan ahead so you are always ready few days before the actual deadline.Also, set daily deadlines for yourself. For example, finish the introduction of this report by tonight. And once a deadline is set up, stick to it!

And if you wonder where I got my tips from, here is what a typical day looked like for me in the last two years…. Way too busy!

6.20 am: Wake up, jump into trainers.

6.30 am: Have a light breakfast, grab a fruit and leave the house.

6.55 am: Board an amazingly full  Westbound Central Line train towards Liverpool Street.

7.05 am: Walk up the escalator to arrive in Liverpool Street station. The station is already really busy, business man, tourists arriving or departing London and early raiser on their way to the gym just to name a few, you would be amazed to see the buzz around at such an early hour of the morning.

7.10 am: Touchdown LA Fitness London Wall. Fill up bottle of water and hurry to the spinning room. Believe me or not, at 7 am the classes are full. For many people, the early morning is the only time free to exercise, so at 7.15 when the music starts everyone gives its best knowing the long day ahead.

8.00 am: End of the class. What a great way to start the day! Call me crazy if you want but when I know that I have a really busy day ahead, starting with a good gym session most definitely help.

8.05 am: Shower. Around me, bankers and executives women are hurrying up into their black suits.

8.30 am: Leaves the gym direction Uni

9.00 am: Just in time for the lecture.

12.00 am: Lecture and seminar finished, time to go to work.

1.00 pm: Arrives in Selfridges: red lipstick on, heels on. Let’s go.

1.15 – 9.15 pm: Serve customer, manage the team and answer to all the “bloody” customers complains. Stress stress and stress more. Indeed, during my 9 hours shift, I will think of all this uni work I have to do. I will get stressed knowing that my uni mates are actually spending the day at the library, getting on with their work while I am here trying to make money.

9.30 pm: Count tills, send emails to directors, fill up daily figures sheets and go home!

10.00 pm: Arrives home, eat

11.00 pm: Read the required reading for tomorrow’s lecture. Answer all the emails and post from my fellow uni mates with whom I am working on a group coursework.

11.30 pm: Falls asleep.

Everyday wasn’t this busy as my part-time job kept me busy three days a week only. Nonetheless, everyday was filled with either University or work  and days off were gold dust. At the worst times, when deadlines were upcoming, I didn’t have the choice but to go less to the gym. I agree that you always have the choice but since days are only made of 24 hours, you might have to cut down some activities in the favour of a good night of sleep. Also, I had the chance to have great friends and a great boyfriend that were great support during these busy and stressful times. I intend to thank them all by spending some great quality time with them all summer long.

So yes, I am now enjoying my freedom very much. And to the many people who asked me how hard it was to work and study in the same time, I won’t lie, it is hard. Hard but definitely not impossible. I actually truly believe that my crazy schedule has allowed me to be more organised and so be more efficient when I needed to be so.

Now, I am looking forward to a good holiday far away from the business of London. Because let’s face it, being busy in a busy city that is London is great but, at times, we all need a break.

French presidential election 2012: ‘Anyone but Sarkozy’

When my flatmate Vincent came to me last week, asking if I was interested in giving an interview about the French presidential elections, I accepted without thinking. If there has been times when I lost total interest in politics, this isn’t the case for the last French presidential campaign. Sitting in front of my computer, I have been following the campaign carefully and found myself really drawn into it. As the campaign started, I realised that leaving abroad, was actually a great help in building my own opinions and thoughts. Indeed, if the French nation is overexposed to the campaign, as a French living in a foreign country I am choosing when and how to access the media.

However, as I read through articles in the English news I quickly realised that most of the views represented in the press were coming from the wealthy and really affluent French community of South Kensington. The French community living in South Kensington is surely well represented in London but it is far from representing the French nation as a whole. Indeed, we are talking here about a few families, that came to England with wife, kids and a great salary package, voting generally conservative or right as we say it in France.

For all these reasons, the idea of meeting a journalist from The Guardian  was more than appealing, exiting. Vincent and myslef were hoping to see another view represented in the English media, the view of a younger and left leaning community that we were glad to represent. Last Thursday, siting in a pub in Bethnal Green, drinking a glass of cheap red wine, I had the chance to talk and discuss about the French presidential campaign Lizzy Davies.

The outcome of our little talk is a great article that appeared page 15 in the main section of  The Guardian on the Saturday 14th of April 2012. The article is also available on line fron the following link

French elections: How will London vote? 

Credits: The Guardian, Photograph: Martin Argles.

Available from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/13/french-elections-how-london-vote

 If you were wondering how I was leaning politically, here is your answer. Knowing that, it will come to no surprises to you that I smiled largely when seing the last pool results in the news this morning.

%d bloggers like this: