Lauri Hanninen works at Wunderman Prague as a Project Manager. He recently joined the team at Wunderman UK for a two week YOU Swap experience – our exchange programme for rising stars. Here’s Lauri answering our questions…
1. What expectations did you have for your London YOU Swap?
“In May 2018, I did not think twice when I was asked if I was interested in applying for the YOU Swap programme. It was to my surprise that I got accepted since I had been in the company for only a year and I would assume that someone with more experience at Wunderman would be selected. Being asked to join the programme showed me that my supervisors are genuinely interested in my personal development, and I am very grateful for that.
“And the best part is that I was going to London!
“I was looking forward to networking with new people from different backgrounds, experience a different business culture – as well as be able to get new ideas to implement in our team's daily work. And of course, I was thrilled to properly see London for the first time.”
2. Was it easy to mix-in with the UK team? How did they make you welcome?
“From the very beginning, people were so friendly and welcoming. I felt like I was an old colleague that just came back from a very long vacation. It was great to see the energetic atmosphere all around and how everyone is working together towards a common goal. I spent most of my time with the project managers (PM) on the BT account, and I participated in different meetings and training. Alice Balland, a producer at Wunderman UK, was a huge help during my stay and I had a great time shadowing her.
“I have always felt lucky in Prague because our work community is very close, and I was happy to see it is the same situation in London. Work does not feel like work when your office is full of laughter and good vibes, and sometimes we forget that this is not the case in every company. I believe it’s not a coincidence that our offices in London and in Prague operate similarly. I am convinced it’s thanks to Wunderman’s culture that fosters team building, as well as individual friendships, and this makes employees feel at home while they are in the workplace.”
3. Despite being part of the global Wunderman family, did you feel a difference in the way both offices work?
“In London, people are always on the move, which makes it a little more hectic than in Prague. However, this contributes to the office’s liveliness.
“I really like the weekly PM training, the get-together event every Friday and the Wheel of Wunder at the end of every month. We do not have those in Prague, YET! I’d really like our offices to implement the same activities.”
4. What was the biggest culture shock you experienced at Greater London House? What did you learn from it?
“There wasn’t anything too shocking workwise, but I was amazed by how good people are at quizzes! I have always thought I am a decent quizzer but when I joined Richard Dunn’s Halloween Quiz, I was proved the contrary.”
5. After work, what did you enjoy doing in London?
“My favourite activity was wandering around the city without any specific destination. This way, you find interesting places you would not otherwise notice. I just took the tube somewhere and tried my best to find my way back without a map. For example, one day I accidentally found Banksy’s artwork just a few blocks from the office. That was pretty cool.
“Another thing I really enjoyed was the various museums. I am a huge history enthusiastic so visiting museums like the Imperial War Museum, Natural History Museum and British Museum was an amazing experience. And the best part is that all of them are free!”
6. Do you feel your experience met your expectations?
“Definitely. YOU Swap gave me a great opportunity to learn more about Wunderman as a company and get a better understanding of how global agencies operate. Especially, seeing different teams´ setups, clients´ support and business areas were exactly what I hoped for. It was great to follow BT PMs and see how they run end-to-end marketing campaigns for the client. Overall, it was a very educational experience.”
7. Would you recommend the YOU Swap program? If yes, why?
“Absolutely! Who wouldn’t like to spend time in a different country with great people and simultaneously learn new things? Experiences like these will remain excellent memories that we will carry throughout the rest of our lives.”