The True Life of an Ogilvy Healthworld Fellow

beautiful view of big ben, london

The Fellowship Scheme at Ogilvy Healthworld in London is one of the most comprehensive in the field. Fellows spend two years rotating through core disciplines of Advertising, Market Access, Medical Education, PR, Digital and Strategy/Planning. The scheme involves a combination of training, coaching, assignments and project work. Claire Lormor, who started in September 2012, reveals what it is really like. 

 The selection process

Once I had submitted an essay, filled out a comprehensive questionnaire and got through two rounds of agonising interviews, you would have thought I gained myself a nice little place on the sofa of successful Ogilvy Healthworld fellows. No. It wasn’t until I got invited to an “assessment day” that I realised the real selection process had only just begun.

I arrived early on the assessment day, but I was still one of the last to arrive due to the number of keen beans who believe that you will automatically get a job if you arrive to an interview three hours early. After talking to the other potential fellows for about a minute, I realised that they all seemed to have spent the last two years in the industry or getting to know everything about the industry, whereas I had shamelessly spent the last two years travelling the world and doing ski seasons. My nerves were definitely getting the better of me. Luckily the pain au chocolat, Ogilvy branded M&Ms and the concept of a Friday drinks trolley were enough for me to calm down and remember why I really wanted this job.

The main focus of the day was our individual two-minute presentations, where we had to explain to the jury (board of directors) and the other fellows why an object of choice best described ourselves. Some were weird and some were wonderful. People described objects such as water bottles, eggs, books, spectacles and sailing masts. I still don’t know how Ogilvy analysed our presentations; maybe it was just for comedy value!

When the presentations, interviews, brainstorms and team exercises came to a close, we all went our separate ways and waited for the call. I am sure you are not on the edge of your seat wondering whether I got the job or not, but I would like to confirm that I did, and I am now an Ogilvy Healthworld fellow who thoroughly enjoys being lost in the world of health comms.

Moving to London

A great summer of relaxation before I start my fellowship: tick.

A car full of clothes ready to travel 300 miles to London: tick.

A house in London: oh no.

How can someone who knows London about as well as they know the North Pole decide where they want to live? You can’t just ask your friends or colleagues, because wherever they live is “definitely the best place to live.” You can’t ask your parents because they will say the safest place in London, which is guaranteed to be the dullest. You can’t couch-surf because everyone will judge you for being a 23-year-old young professional living on someone’s couch. And you can’t stay in a hotel because one night would cost a year’s wages (not quite).

After spending weeks wandering the streets of London and going to numerous restaurants and bars (it was awful), I decided on an area which I thought would be the best place for me to eat, drink, shop and sleep. It may sound like your idea of hell, but after a lot of strange phone calls and awkward viewings I am happy to say that I am the proud owner of a room in an eight-bed house in the centre of Clapham Junction with other 20-somethings who enjoy working during the week and partying on the weekend.

The other fellows

They say you can find everything on the Internet, but they also said that the world was going to end…weeks ago.

As soon as I found out I was going to be a fellow, I naturally went straight to Google/Facebook to see if I could identify who the other selected fellows were. Ogilvy managed to keep this information from us until our very first day of the fellowship. It was then that I was introduced to Emma (the spectacles girl), James (the sailing mast boy), Pippa (the hockey top girl), Houda (the framed letter girl), Sophie (the Rolling Stones record girl) and Izzy (the can of Foamburst girl).

Not a bad bunch to spend the next two years with!

My first rotation

The fellowship scheme is for people who know they want to be in health comms but are unsure of what area they want to go into. To cater to our indecisiveness, the fellows and I are placed in three of the five departments over the course of two years in the hope that we find our feet and decide what we want to do with our life along the way.

I was delighted when I was told that my first rotation would be in PR, but at the same time I had no idea what PR was. Five months down the line and to me PR means: general admin, media monitoring, budget tracking, long hours and plenty of meetings. However, it also means: working as a team, keeping up-to-date with the pharmaceutical industry, liaising with clients, organising events, communicating with medics around the world, and assisting in the launch of new healthcare products. It’s a hard knock life in PR, but in the world of healthcare comms hard work never goes unnoticed.

As a whole, my experience in Ogilvy Healthworld has been thoroughly enjoyable. If the interesting world of healthcare, a great group of people, a friendly atmosphere, and a cake for everyone’s  birthday isn’t a reason to get up in the morning, I don’t know what is. I am very much looking forward to my next 18 months as a fellow and I hope to experience more of what Ogilvy Healthworld and London have to offer!

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