Cognito’s Summer Graduate programme is a full-time, three-month internship designed to offer an immersive and enjoyable introduction to agency life in London and the world of public relations, marketing, social media and digital campaigns. (There are schemes in other offices as well – please check our careers page for more details.)
From day one, successful candidates will have the opportunity to work with clients across financial services, technology and professional services, and receive formal training from an award-winning team.
Sachini joined the London Cognito team as a graduate trainee in January. Prior to transitioning to a career in communications, she spent six years as an English teacher. She currently supports the PR team as an Account Executive helping plan, manage and deliver integrated media campaigns.
We spoke to Sachini about her experiences as a graduate at Cognito.
Q: What sparked your interest in Cognito’s graduate programme?
As a complete newcomer to the industry, I knew that to succeed and progress quickly, I needed to gain the foundational knowledge and essential skills. The formal training and the close mentorship the program offered were incredibly appealing as they would provide me with the opportunity to develop a broad range of financial principles. I also believe that hands-on learning is crucial, and this program would allow me to immediately apply my training in a practical setting by diving into client work.
Q: What does the typical day in the life of a graduate look like?
Agency life is very dynamic and each day varies depending on priorities. Usually my working day starts with administrative tasks such as ensuring trackers are up to date for my accounts, as well as responding to emails. I then focus on my daily recurring activities, mostly social media-related tasks such as community management and drafting posts. I usually schedule my day to focus on longer tasks such as writing bylines and blogs for the later part of the day.
The most common tasks that would come across my desk would be media relations related, drafting pitches around new product launches, events, drafting press releases and engaging with relevant media outlets to secure opportunities for clients.
Q: Which resources proved helpful to you during your placement?
I found attending industry events particularly useful as they provide context around topical industry issues and provided the opportunity to engage with industry experts who are relevant to my clients’ industries. Big Fish training webinars on the use of AI and ChatGPT for PR professionals helped me understand how best to utilize the platform in my daily tasks. My colleagues were perhaps the most invaluable resource to me during my placement. The wealth of knowledge and expertise they possess in their respective fields significantly aided my learning experience.
Q: What were some of the most memorable experiences from your placement?
There are several key highlights that stand out to me. Firstly, going through the process of media relations from start to finish was an incredibly satisfying experience. Beginning with training sessions to learn the ins and out of media relations, I was able to apply the skills to secure opportunities for clients in various notable publications. The feeling of accomplishment that came with seeing a project through from beginning to end was incredibly gratifying.
Another highlight was the opportunity to attend a financial awards ceremony where the Cognito team were shortlisted for an award. It was a great experience to share in the team’s success and celebrate their achievements.
I also got the opportunity to attend a fintech industry summit at the Houses of Parliament. It was an incredible experience to be in such a historic building and to have the opportunity to hear from industry leaders.
Sachini Hewawasam is an account executive in London