The 2014 Management Undergraduate of the Year Award winner on ten things she learned (or didn’t learn!) from her internship with Enterprise Rent-A-Car!

I'll be honest - as a student searching for internships my questions were quite straightforward: where will I be based, how much will I be paid, and what will I be doing on a daily basis?

My placement year has been different in that I have had the chance to work in different companies and in different sectors and industries. However, Enterprise alone has taught me that the daily tasks you’ll be completing and where you’re living are not nearly as important as the type of company you’re working for, what the people are like and whether you’re actually going to enjoy working for that company. To illustrate this, the following ten points are what I have learned during my time with Enterprise.

1. There is so much more to Enterprise than renting cars.
Enterprise employees will tell you this all the time, but it wasn’t until I got here that I realised it was true. In fact, in my first four weeks I almost forgot I was working for a car rental company, because there are so many different areas of the business to get involved with and, while rental is a part of most of them, very few of them are concerned solely with car rental.

2. They live by their values and mission statement, at all levels of the company.
Ask any employee what affects the way they make their decisions and they’ll tell you – we first ask is it right for our customers, for our employees? Then we’ll assess whether it makes financial sense and how it can grow the business. Because if we take care of the first part, the second part will take care of itself.

3. You’ll be asked for your contribution and opinion from day one.
You won’t be expected to know the right answer, but you will be expected to give an answer, and demonstrate your ability to learn. Making mistakes is a key part of development and, while we all make them, what is important is that we make mistakes early on, and learn from them. 99% of Enterprise employees started as management trainees, so you won’t find anyone looking down their noses at you. Your contribution is valued, and will be taken on board by everyone, from a fellow intern to senior management.

4. I still don’t know how to use a copier
And the only time I have had to use a printer is when I’ve needed to print something out.

5. They want you to succeed
Enterprise is going places – literally and figuratively – and it wants you to, too. It wants you to get as much as you can out of your career, and will help you to get it through training, mentoring, support and providing new and exciting opportunities every day. When you come back as a management trainee after an internship you’ll pick up where you left off – Enterprise won’t ask you to redo training you did on your internship, meaning you’re able to progress even quicker.

6. They’re honest
About everything. Expectations, work, themselves. Enterprise is a case of what you see is what you get. And that really is quite refreshing.

7. You’ll get out what you put in – and more
The more you put into your work the more return you get. But think of it like compound interest instead of a flat rate – the more you go over and above, the more you’ll get back.

8. There is no such thing as a set career path
Most people I spoke to didn’t start out in the department they’re currently in. The beauty of the Enterprise training scheme is that it gives you experience in – and so a chance to ‘try before you buy’ – all areas of running a business, whether it be rental, HR, insurance or any other part of the company you can think of. It will set you up to be a success in whichever area you choose but, additionally, once you get there, gives you the basic training allowing you to change and move into a different department completely if you wanted to. This is perfect for someone like me, who knows they want a career in business, but isn’t sure what area.

9. It’s a big company, with a family feel
In many companies you can feel like a very small fish in a big pond, as it can be hard to see how what you’re doing is having an impact on the business. Not at Enterprise. You’re given the chance to make a change, and you’ll see how what you’re doing affects your branch, region, country and the business overall. It’s this understanding of the bigger picture that engages Enterprise employees at all levels, and helps them to see where and how they can do things differently.

10. I really have no idea how everyone in the office takes their coffee
Interns don’t make the coffee and tea here. Enterprise knows that the more you allow employees to do something brilliant, the more often they will surprise you and do something truly amazing.