OPINION23 August 2022

Take a chance on me: a personal account of an MRX internship

Inclusion Opinion UK Youth

Nyemba Tembo recently undertook an internship at consumer insights platform Zappi. Here, she relates how that serendipitous decision has resulted in her finding her true calling.

Happy confident successful multiethnic workers

The 10,000 Black Interns programme was something I first heard about in passing during the summer of 2020. I didn’t pay much attention to it, as at the time we were going through a pandemic and I wasn’t exactly thinking about interning.

Fast forward to 2021, when I was now in my final year of university and a couple of family members sent me the link to it, and that was when I decided to see what it was all about. At the time the application portal wasn’t open yet, so I began to do some research on it, which included watching the previous training sessions (super helpful) and stalking those who were involved in it on social media.

With the November deadline fast approaching, my dad asked me if I had put in my application, and the answer was no; but I then decided to go for it and see what would come out of it. I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but I was unemployed and figured ‘why not?’

Coming from a journalism and content creation background, the media sector was my first choice, but that did not work out. Market research was one of my other choices, and I am certainly not mad at the fact that it is ultimately the sector I ended up in.

At the time the Zappi opportunity came about, I had been reading Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit and in it he tells the story of how a statistician named Andrew Pole was able to increase the sales of [American supermarket chain] Target, by creating a pregnancy-prediction model, and other personalised customer ads through the world of marketing and insights.

I have always said if I were to do my Master’s, I would do it in digital marketing; but apart from that I had never thought too much about it until I read that book. I like to say that the Zappi opportunity was absolute serendipity because I more than likely would not have applied for jobs in this sector of my own accord.

Over the past couple of months, I have been exposed to an entirely new field, something I am so grateful for. I have been able to work with some of the most patient and knowledgeable people, while merely scratching the surface of this world of market research and insights. I have felt like part of a team that has different moving parts to make sure the machine is functioning optimally.

In just a short period of time I have been able to enhance my interpersonal skills, as well as boost my confidence when it comes to putting myself forward. I have also been able to utilise my existing skillset from my content creation and journalism background to complete tasks such as conducting case studies, and editing them as well. Even things like sitting in on planning meetings has been of great benefit to me as a rookie coming into the industry.

Overall, I would highly recommend the 10,000 Black Interns initiative to my peers, as well as the market research industry specifically, because just like it did for me, it may end up being something you stumble upon and find yourself enjoying. Here’s to being comfortable with being uncomfortable for a short while until you find your footing.

10,000 Black Interns has partnered with firms from 24 different sectors, including 24 research and insight businesses, to offer 2,000 paid internships each year for five consecutive years.

Employers can now register to take part in the 2023 programme and help change the lives of Black students and graduates across the country.

Prospective interns can register here to be the first to apply for 2023 placements from September.