Posted 30.09.19 by Ellie Harlow
“Every time Penguin emailed me to say I was through to the next stage of the application process, I was a little more shocked”
This summer, I was lucky enough to be given the chance to intern with Penguin Business.
Every time Penguin emailed me to say I was through to the next stage of the application process, I was a little more shocked and bemused; wasn’t this supposed to be the top publishing internship in the country? Are they sure they’re sending these emails to the right person?
In any case, before long I was packing up to move to my friend’s house in London for two months while I worked at 80 Strand.
My internship brief was to identify new areas for the Business Imprint to publish in. I spent my time researching new popular subjects and trends in business and potential authors.
It was fascinating to approach familiar concepts like ‘leadership’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ from new angles. Everyone I spoke to said pre-acquisition research was one of their favourite parts of the process, so I felt pretty lucky to be there.
“The experience was invaluable”
Towards the end of the programme I developed one book idea and put together a proposal; I’d noticed that cultural intelligence, defined as the ability to effectively work in a variety of cultural environments, was something that was widely researched but not widely published, so I researched the topic, identified a target audience, came up with a structure and suggested a few potential authors to write the book.
I used what I’d learned from my line manager, acquisitions meetings and my own research to put it together – the experience was invaluable.
My line manager, team and colleagues were unbelievably welcoming, kind and accommodating. Everyone is so interesting, intelligent and up for talking about the publishing industry and all sorts of other things. I set up meetings with people across the whole office in a range of departments to discuss their role in the publishing process and the intricacies of the relationships between departments.
“I got to see how a large publishing company works, how it makes decisions – and meet a variety of fascinating people”
I would encourage anyone else who gets selected for the programme to try and relax and understand that this is as much a learning opportunity for you as it is a job in which you are required to contribute to the company.
The internship was a fantastic opportunity for me, both in terms of personal and professional development; I got to see how a large publishing company works, how it makes decisions, what it takes to function at that level and meet a variety of fascinating people – thank you PRH!
I’d also add a quick note about London for those who haven’t lived there before – it’s an exhausting place. The pace, size and prices will probably take the wind out of you, so don’t worry if it takes a little getting used to.
I used the tube, but looking back I wish I’d cycled around (there are lots of cycle-only roads and thousands of cyclists, so it’s safer than you might think), just to get a little more exercise and fresh air into my commute.