5 March 2022

Day in the Life as a Sony Finance Placement student

👨‍💻 We interviewed a finance placement student who reveals the culture and experience working at Sony.
Asset 2220 e1646522224865 - ourGen - Day in the Life as a Sony Finance Placement student
I interviewed Harry Beckwith, a Finance student at the University of Durham who is currently doing his placement at Sony. Harry is the Head of ourInsights, ourGen’s applications feature which helps ourGen members get a better understanding of the application process for companies. To top that, Harry has given an interview on what it’s actually like to work at Sony, the leading provider of audio/video electronics and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets. I asked him a series of questions that he provides his insight to…
 

1. What are your responsibilities at Sony?

I work at Sony Professional Solutions in Basingstoke as a Finance & Data Analyst in the Marketing division. Each month, I am responsible for updating and maintaining 7 figure European & Global Marketing budgets. This requires the use of complex excel formulas and manipulating large amounts of financial data.
 
I have monthly communication with HQ in Japan and other key stakeholders, as they rely on me to provide updates on various budgets. I build Monthly Reports (Act/Fct) for 10+ business units, in doing so requires extensive use of Excel & SAP. I am currently re-building the internal PSE Marketing Solutions budget, centralising all budgets for smoother navigation. I also raise a large number of purchase orders each month and negotiate with numerous vendors, providing efficient customer service.
 
 

2. What is the day-to-day experience like?

As far as my ‘day to day work’. I will typically start around 9 am. The first thing I do is admin. This means checking for any emails / Microsoft teams messages that need to be dealt with. Then, depending on where we are in the month, I will start work on various tasks. Building reports for HQ happens later on in the month for example. I will usually take lunch from 1-2 pm, then work through until around 5:30 pm.
 
In my spare time, I’m able to ‘branch out’ of finance slightly which is a nice change and work on additional areas of the business. One is with the web analytics team on Adobe Analytics, analysing various KPIs. The other is working with the marketing team, on various tasks ranging from competitor analysis on other firms marketing strategies and helping with the admin of Sony’s live event series.
 
 

3. What are your main challenges working at Sony?

I report to HQ every month and maintain budgets for 10+ business units. After the 2 week handover from the previous placement student, it was a very steep learning curve for me to become completely comfortable completing these tasks. Learning to navigate and become familiar with certain software like SAP was particularly tricky at the beginning. Especially based on the fact that I needed SAP to complete half my tasks!
Everyone you have meetings with knows the company operations, various terms and abbreviations, like PSE/PSG/SGA/PO/GR. It took me a while to fully learn the meaning of these and be able to use them on a day to day basis.
 
As an intern, I was introduced to and worked with a lot of people in different teams within the marketing division. There can be certain points in the month when things are extremely busy, and understandably each team wants their work to be prioritised. There has been a number of occasions when I have had to prioritise tasks and alter deadlines with people. However, this has taught me how to negotiate with people and deal with completing many tasks under pressure.
 
 

4. What are your main career-defining achievements so far?

After being thrown in at the deep end, I think I have done extremely well to get to where I am today. I am managing budgets worth £1million+ and have HQ relying on me to complete tasks for them.
 
I have developed my skills greatly. I have had a chance to work on soft skills such as teamwork, organisation, leadership, time management and presentation skills. My hard skills have developed too, mainly on Excel, PowerPoint and various accounting software.
 
Through communication with HQ in Japan, I have learned more about their business culture, how to present myself, how to act, even down to learning about how to address someone in an email, to show the utmost respect.
 
 

5. What do you enjoy the most on your placement scheme?

The team are very friendly and are always happy to help out. Since I’ve started, some individuals have spent hours on calls with me talking through various work-related issues. The fact that they are taking time out of their busy schedules to help an intern, shows how welcoming everyone is.
 
Despite this, I think the nicest part of my placement is the work/life balance. Sony is very flexible with how one works. I am contracted to complete 37 hours a week, so I usually spread this out to 7.5 hours a day Mon-Thurs, then 7 hours on Friday. As long as I am prepared for meetings etc and meet deadlines my bosses are happy. I also love how the hours can be moved around to suit my work style, for example, if on one day there is a big project, I can work 10 hours, then only do 5 the next day, as long as the 37 hours week is met!
 
 

6. How you can achieve a similar career to Harry’s 

Harry has given his insight into the ins and outs of working at Sony. If this is something you find inspiring and an opportunity you want yourself, Harry has shared the entire application process to his Sony position, as well as top tips on how to succeed. 

He also secured an offer from BAE Systems. When I interviewed Harry he mentioned why he chose Sony over BAE Systems and revealed that although the positions were similar, Sony offered a deeper finance involvement with an applied theory to marketing. Personally, I think it’s an interesting opportunity for students looking for more “business” placements to pick up a variety of skills, rather than just pure finance.  You can read his BAE Systems placement application process here. 

 

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