Holly is the winner of the 2018 Management Undergraduate of the Year Award with Enterprise Rent-a-Car and shares her story from the final!

‘You must have confused me, confused me, with someone else’. That’s the song they played when I went up to collect my award: No Excuses by Meghan Trainor. It felt like they had confused me with someone else when they first read my name out, because when I applied for the award I never dreamed I’d get this far, especially after meeting so many incredible people both at the assessment centre and at the awards ceremony. I was just happy to be in Canary Wharf surrounded by so many bright minds! I thought it was worth sharing my journey along with my Top 5 tips.

Tip #1 Go for it! If you believe you have what the company is looking for, apply! After all, ‘You have to be in it to win it,’ Rachel Riley told us at the awards ceremony.

Having read some of the emails that came through from TARGETjobs and my university’s careers centre I decided to look online at what the application process entailed. I thought it looked like a great opportunity, so I looked carefully at the different awards and researched Enterprise Rent-A-Car before deciding on the Management award. I was really impressed with the company’s ethics and what they stand for and thought that perhaps I might have what they were looking for.

The first step is three online tests. They really aren’t anything to be worried about, but they are worth taking your time over and doing them to the best of your ability. There is a personality test, a situational-based test and a strategic shapes-based exercise. It was the first time I had completed online tests of this nature, but there were lots online for me to practise on and I tried to answer the personality and situational tests with as much honesty as possible. Next are the three questions posed by the employer. These were all centred around leadership for Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and I drafted a number of different responses and tweaked my answers on a word document before I submitted them. This is your chance to show a bit of your personality and what makes you unique from everyone else, so they are worth putting some thought into.

Tip #2: Make sure you do your homework. I was ecstatic when I received the email saying that I had been longlisted and that my details had been sent to Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Just a few days later I was surprised again by another email from Ash saying I had made it to the Top 50 and would be having a telephone interview. I researched Enterprise, looked online for people’s past experiences with Enterprise Rent-A-Car interviews, read all the blog posts on the company’s website before my interview and collated all my findings in a word document. I wanted to be sure I had clear examples in my head of where I thought I fit with the company’s culture and had gone over examples of my leadership/strengths and weaknesses because it is so easy for your mind to go blank when put on the spot. Make sure you are ready for your interview ahead of time and you are in a quiet place. I did my interview in a room on my own and was sat down ready to receive the call around 15 minutes ahead of my allotted time. I was really nervous because I had never done a telephone interview before, let alone with someone as high up in the company as Ash (Ashley Hever, Talent Acquisition Director, UK & Ireland), but I didn’t need to worry. Ash was so easy to talk to and the questions weren’t there to trick me; they just wanted to know more about me.

Tip #3: Relax and be yourself. This tip I learnt from a previous finalist whom I spoke to ahead of my assessment centre. She told me that I had already proven myself in the telephone interview and that Enterprise Rent-A-Car had clearly seen something in me, so now I just had to be myself, use the opportunity to showcase my personality and show them one last time how I was the best fit for the company. This made me feel so much calmer. I wasn’t nervous about the assessment centre because I went in with the mind-set that it was an invaluable opportunity to gain experience ahead of graduation – I was going to learn an immeasurable amount during the day. The day was so enjoyable, and I made some great friends. Most of the individuals at my assessment centre were from northern universities, which makes it easier for us to meet up now the process is over!

I was absolutely over the moon to get a phone call from Ash saying that I had made the Final 10 in Canary Wharf. I was so excited for the day – I watched all the past videos on YouTube and spoke almost every day with Rachel Smith, whom I met on my assessment centre day (and is now a very good friend). She studies at the University of Edinburgh and was also chosen as a finalist.

Tip #4: Reach out to other finalists and try to make a day of it. One of the best things I did was to make a group chat for the ten finalists in the Management section and proposed meeting for coffee ahead of the event. It was really easy to find 9/10 of the finalists via LinkedIn, and I asked Ash if he could get in touch with the final individual! We all agreed to meet for coffee ahead of the event, which was such a nice way to chat ahead of the Awards and all arrive together. We felt as if we had our own little group and we all got to chat and share our experiences, easing our nerves; I’d really recommend doing that if you can.

I went into the day feeling so grateful as it really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and such a special day. I was able to network with eight members of Enterprise Rent-A-Car whom I hadn’t met on the assessment centre day, and the other finalists, before and during the three-course lunch.

Tip #5: Get to know the people seated at the table with you and ask them about their experiences. Enterprise Rent-A-Car alternates finalists with Enterprise workers at the table, and all of them hold significant positions within the company and have been with Enterprise Rent-a-Car for many years. It was so lovely to get to know them, and they were so kind and gracious to me. Then it was time for the all-important Awards!

I have learnt so much from this process. I came into it wanting to gain experience of the graduate recruitment process and came away with so much more. I would encourage anyone thinking of entering to research the award and company you are thinking of applying for and give it your all, because you have no idea how far it will take you! I have gained so much confidence, friends across the country, several new business connections and a hefty glass award, all of which I could never have dreamed of getting when I applied in January.

Thank you so much to everyone at Enterprise Rent-A-Car who had a hand in giving me this incredible opportunity. I am so excited to work hard this summer and find out more about life at Enterprise Rent-a-Car. Thank you to TARGETjobs for putting on such a lovely finals day and for running the Awards.

I’ll be back in a month or so to give you my thoughts ahead of starting the internship with Enterprise – maybe by then it will have sunk in!

To find out more about Enterprise Rent-A-Car and the fantastic opportunities on offer, visit their website here