What can you get out of the Undergraduate of the Year Awards? And why everyone should apply!

Walking onto the glass domed balcony of the East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf, full of bright smiling faces, I could not have imagined that my application for the Management Undergraduate of the Year Award would have brought me here just a few months ago.

A few months prior to the awards ceremony, an email from the careers centre at my university had caught my eye. I’ve always loved opportunities and the possibilities to stretch myself, so this seemed like something I would be very interested in, so I applied. I took the online tests and application thinking I had nothing to lose. I was thrilled to find I had been selected as part of the top 40 for a telephone interview, something which I had never experienced before, but I wasn’t going to let that worry me.

When applying for these awards or indeed a job, I believe it’s important to do your research: it shows you have enthusiasm for the company and a desire for success. I got in touch with an area manager from Enterprise Rent-A-Car and she was more than helpful in providing me with advice for my telephone interview and beyond. I kept in contact with her throughout the process and she was a great support.

A few weeks later, knowing I would soon be receiving an email about the outcome of the interview, I nervously checked my email inbox and there it was. I was going to London for the assessment centre!

After what was a very long but inspiring day, in which I met fantastic candidates and company representatives from all around the country, I waited for the phone call to know whether I had made it any further. At this point, after meeting the high calibre of candidates, I was proud to have reached this point - especially since my first year at university had not yet finished! I was then elated to learn I had made it through to the final. 10 out of 400 applicants!

The day before the awards ceremony I received a phone call from the area manager I had been in communication with. She rang to wish me the best of luck for the award the next day and to offer me an internship with Enterprise, regardless of what happened. I couldn’t believe it!

The Awards were a fantastic day and gave me the opportunity to meet so many amazing candidates and company representatives, as well as catch up with some of the people I had met on my assessment day. Naturally as the award announcement came closer I was nervous; however, despite not winning, I still felt, along with many people I spoke to afterwards, that we had all won. We were there at this incredible venue with some of the biggest names in business in the UK!

For the summer? I am spending ten weeks with Enterprise as a management trainee intern and I cannot wait to see what opportunities it brings!

My advice for applicants: it doesn’t matter what year of university you are currently in, or perhaps what qualifications you may think you lack. These awards look for the people behind the application submissions, so apply – you never know where you may find yourself!

Where are they now?

Management trainee intern/campus brand manager at Enterprise Rent-A-Car.