I first heard about the TARGETjobs Undergraduate of the Year Awards when I was lucky enough to secure a summer internship with Enterprise Rent-A-Car in 2017. When I was going through the recruitment process Enterprise sent me an email with a link to apply for the award and stated that it would be a very good experience to have. I immediately applied for the Management Award as part of the prize was work experience at Enterprise’s headquarters in Missouri – and who wouldn’t want that? Also, as I am perusing a career in management I thought I would take all of the experience I could get.
I thought that, due to it being such a popular award, I had a slim chance of getting through to the next stage. However, I was totally wrong. I received confirmation that after submitting my application I had been successful in reaching the next stage (top 50) and would have to do a telephone interview.
The telephone interview went well, and I was grateful to be selected for the assessment centre down in Egham. So along I went, flying down to Heathrow, so nervous for what was ahead. I had no reason to be nervous as the assessment centre was so relaxed. All the representatives from Enterprise were easy to talk to and really did put me at ease. The day featured various activities such as role plays and a group task. The calibre of candidates at this assessment centre was really outstanding – I have never been to a recruitment event where I was so in awe of everyone’s experience and leadership style.
I flew back to Edinburgh thinking that I had no chance now, seeing how amazing everyone else was on the day. So I was in complete shock when I received a call a couple of days later from Ashley (director of talent acquisition at Enterprise) to say that I had made it to the final ten and would be attending the final in Canary Wharf! I remember saying to Ashley on the phone call, ‘You’re joking, aren’t you? Everyone was so good!’ and he replied, ‘Well you were one of those people; we were really impressed.’
The final at East Wintergarden, Canary Wharf, was a day that I will always remember. I was so grateful to be part of such an exciting day, being able to network with so many amazing individuals and celebrating getting to this stage. I also got to get a picture with Rachel Riley, after she delivered an extremely motivational speech, which is one for the memory books! All of the other finalists really were the nicest people, who will all do fantastically in their careers, and I am still in contact with a lot of them – I am thankful for the experience and confidence boost, but also for making some great friends.
I completed my summer internship with Enterprise at Edinburgh Airport and had an amazing summer. It was a fast-paced working environment and was challenging. However, I only look on this as a positive as it has improved my resilience, communication style, leadership skills and ability to think on the spot. These are traits that I will keep with me for the rest of my career and am thankful to Enterprise for giving me this experience.
After the internship I was lucky enough to be offered the role of Enterprise campus brand manager for the University of Edinburgh and am currently in this role. It involves setting up recruitment events for students to find out more about Enterprise’s internships and graduate scheme. So if you would like to find out more please do ask away: linkedin.com/in/rachel-smith-a79108137.
Here are some lessons I took from the experience and some tips I would give anyone thinking about applying:
LESSON 1: Don’t doubt your abilities – The whole assessment process and making it to the final has instilled so much self-confidence and has led me to not doubt my knowledge, experience and personality. If you work hard enough and you want to achieve something, go and do it and know that you have as much of a chance as everyone else!
LESSON 2: Research – It is important that before you start the application process you really know Enterprise’s values and culture, as these are the traits that it is looking for in a potential employee. This really will showcase you as someone who is wanting to succeed in the company and that you know your stuff! You can find all of this information on the Enterprise website.
LESSON 3: Be yourself – Showcase how you would fit in with the company and how you display its values. However, if you are not being authentic then this shows.
LESSON 4: Network – Take the opportunity at the assessment centre to network with other applicants and representatives from Enterprise. There were a lot of interesting individuals on the day with very interesting career stories, which were very inspiring. If you make it to the final, then this is such a great experience to talk to so many people and expand your network.