In October, OMD UK announced an exciting new secondment programme, whereby one lucky applicant would live and work in Sydney for four weeks. That OMDer turned out to be Harry Darlington (Strategist at OMD UK). Below, Harry recounts his experience of life down under.
Following a 24-hour flight, quickly having to get over my jet-lag and applying some factor 50 to my fair British skin, my experience at OMD Sydney began on a warm November Monday morning. First on the agenda was an informal coffee catch-up with OMD Sydney’s Managing Directors, Laura Nice and Kim Hamilton. This was an amazing way to quickly understand and get to grips with how OMD operates in Sydney.
I was then swiftly immersed into all things OMD Sydney and thrown into the Strategy team Monday morning “WIP” to meet the team.
In my four weeks, I had the opportunity to work on several projects alongside fellow Sydney strategists. These included the odd client project, but importantly helping to embed our global planning process OMD Design into the fabric of the agency. This was done via three deep-dive training sessions on various topics. Not only was this a great way to help roll out our planning process in another market, but also acted as the perfect opportunity to get to know colleagues in other departments, as well as the nuances of the accounts they work on.
But my four-week secondment also saw me taking part in internal and cultural initiatives. For example, during the monthly company meeting “OMD Live” – hosted in OMD Sydney’s very own bar “The Shoe” – I was called up to stage and put ‘On the Spot’ to answer some hard hitting questions submitted by my colleagues in Sydney. Thankfully, I was able to help them differentiate between different types of tea as well as give them an insight into who my favourite Spice Girl is. Not only this, but I also had the chance to work with the People Team to learn about the great employee initiatives they have in place, with the aim of sharing these with the respective team in the UK in order to make OMD UK an even better place to work.
Of course, my four-week secondment was predominantly based around experiencing working life in another market, but it’s also been a fantastic initiative to learn and develop outside of the office. I’ve was able to explore a new country, experience their culture and ultimately catch up with several great friends (who now live in Sydney) that I’ve been lucky enough to make in my seven+ year stint at OMD UK.
The OMD Secondment programme was an experience that I’ll never forget. Best of luck to all the applicants next year, I’d encourage as many OMDers to apply as possible, as you certainly won’t regret it!