5 things you will learn after a week at H+K London

Last week, David Karega from H+K Nairobi arrived in London to start his three month Dave Robinson Scholarship. Here he records his first impressions.

Walking into the H+K London office is like opening the latest edition of Vogue magazine. Everyone is trendy, chic, suave and effortlessly up with the times. But that is not all there is. I have quickly learnt that herein sits some of the most creative people in this city.

I have been thoroughly overwhelmed by the prowess, success and finesse with which the “Humans of H+K London” execute their numerous campaigns and client work. 10 fully fledged practice areas, best in class experts, world renowned clients, purposeful groundbreaking campaigns and a mastery of storytelling.

Working with the technology team has been particularly rewarding as I immerse myself in the day to day operations of what is undeniably a well-oiled machine. But here are the five amusing things you will learn about London, its people and culture within a week.

1. Not everyone is a football fan

You probably know each first team player of your favorite English Premier League team by name. Watching them live ranks high on your bucket list and you MUST at least take a selfie outside their home stadium while you’re in the UK. You’ve watched all their games and know who scored the crucial goals in every one. Now halt! Not everyone in the UK and more so at the London office is a football fan. A sizeable fraction of people have actually never been inside a football stadium. Nonetheless, you will bump into some amazing and lively football fans who will engage you in football banter.

2. Genuinely caring people

The London office is overwhelming to any first timer. Having to meet all the team members in one day is nerve-racking but the tech team’s warmth and hospitality and HR team’s seamless induction makes all the difference. Everyone realises that this city, though predictable can be tough to adjust to and makes the effort to help you settle in. Notably, the London team believes in giving back to society by executing pro-bono campaigns, a practice that is adopted by other H+K Strategies’ offices across the globe.

3. Drinks at “the pub” is a welcome plan any day

Work hard, play harder! The “Humans of H+K London” work hard and have achieved great results over the years. H+K London is among biggest offices within our global network. The numerous global and local awards this branch of the agency has bagged speak for themselves. But after all the blood, sweat and tears have been shed, everyone sure enjoys a good party or knocking down a couple of beers after work. It is for this reason (I think) the London office has a fully-fledged bar and more interestingly, a free bar every Thursday. You had better plan to start work at H+K London on a Thursday.

4. Sticklers for time, order and process

H+K London people respect time and you will rarely find a meeting exceeding an hour, or its stipulated timeframe. Calendars are immensely useful and you might want to regularly appraise and keep in touch with your work calendar lest you miss an important client meeting. The tech team handles several clients across multiple markets in EMEA and a regimented system of working has been established that has made execution of work seamless. The public transport system is also efficient (aside from intermittent delays) but it’s better than many other places. Systems do work in this part of the world and you will appreciate how predictable life becomes in London. No surprises whatsoever!

5. Don’t mind the language – just don’t!

I can promise you that an hour into your arrival in London, someone will curse. It’s just self-expression. Don’t mind it! And everyone recycles in the UK. Everyone! That’s to say that London is one very tidy and clean city but you won’t get away with hearing, in a normal conversation, words that you conventionally wouldn’t utter in public if you were in another part of the world.

David Karega

Hill & Knowlton Strategies Search