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I heard about the Undergraduate of the Year competition from my uni lecturer. At first, I was hesitant because I was only made aware of it just a few weeks into my first year of university. I didn’t even think of myself as a true undergraduate yet so you can see my thought process of going for a competition that would compare me to hundreds of other undergraduates. Honestly, I applied on a whim and the thought that I had nothing to lose. And I’m so glad I did.

To apply I had to answer three questions set by Enterprise. Shortly after this I received an SHL psychometric test and aptitude test in my email. This was the first time I had ever taken either of these tests so I remember I set aside lots of time to complete them. Fortunately, they both came with practice questions which allowed me to experience what the tests would be like before taking them. The next stage of the application process was a phone interview with Ashley Hever, the AVP for talent acquisition for Enterprise. A meeting was scheduled over email and to prepare for the interview I made sure to scrub up on Enterprise, its values and history. Whilst researching I found that a lot of Enterprise’s values corresponded to my own. Also, their career website has lots of help and hints for preparing for interviews - my top tip would be to check it out!

After the Interview I received an email a few weeks later from Ash saying I had made it to the final stages of the process: the assessment centre at their European Head office in Egham (Egham was actually my home town and for my entire life I didn’t know that it was also the home of Enterprise’s European operations, quite embarrassing).

The assessment centre was the most memorable part of the application process, in my opinion. Again, I was completely new to this experience, so I just hoped for the best. I turned up and introduced myself to the other applicants. I think there were about 12 of us and there were double the amount of talent acquisition and HR managers watching us - quite an experience.

The day consisted of a group discussion, morning meeting and a personal interview. For me the biggest part of the day was the morning meeting. It was completely unexpected. We had to perform a role-play of us holding our meeting without staff. It was to test our leadership and motivational abilities but that’s all I can say (it’s fun don’t worry. I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise).

After a few days I received a final call from Ashley. He asked me how I thought the assessment day went and how I thought it could have gone better. At this point I thought I didn’t get it and the suspense was slowly killing me. To my surprise, he then, finally, told me that I had made the top ten and that I was invited to the TARGETJobs Undergraduate of the Year awards ceremony in Canary Warf. Surprised is an understatement. After the call, I phoned my parents, similar to a contestant on Bake Off when they find out they’re the star baker.

There was a lot of excitement in the build-up to the awards. All of the other finalists managed to find and connect over LinkedIn, which was another first time for me. On the day of the awards, I made my way into Canary Warf to meet up with the other finalists from all the other awards. It was a sight to see so many talented individuals in one room. Also, meeting Rachel Riley was a massive bonus. The only regret I have is that I didn’t ask her for ‘another vowel please’.

We all made our way to our tables where we were treated to a three-course meal with wine just after the champagne reception, really living in the lap of luxury, and it was such an amazing day. The awards ceremony was followed by some drinks at a nearby bar with my fellow finalists and Enterprise staff. This was the highlight of the day funnily enough because it just showed the family-like corporate culture that Enterprise has.

The entire process from the start of the application to the end of my summer internship as a product development and management intern has been life-changing. I have left Enterprise with a new perspective of customer service and an ethos that encourages hard work and curiosity in the workplace. The biggest thing I’ve taken from this experience has been confidence. I applied on a whim, not even considering myself a proper undergraduate. Then, to keep on advancing through each stage to finally be awarded a life-changing internship and making it to the final has been such a journey and achievement.

My top tips for anyone thinking of applying for this award next year would be to, firstly, apply. There’s legitimately nothing you can lose from this experience and there’s so much that you can gain. Secondly, make sure you’re prepared and comfortable. For the phone interviews block off a few hours before your arranged time to go through some facts on your company, feel confident in what you know and, most importantly, smile. Lastly, be honest with yourself, your strengths and your weaknesses. Enterprise is a very diverse company that celebrates personal values, ideas and characteristics. If you’re answering questions thinking ‘What would they want me to say’ then you’re not going to get the most out of this experience. They want you to succeed, and for that to happen you need to be honest.

To find out more about the Management Undergraduate of the Year Award visit the page here!

And to find out more about Enterprise-Rent-A-Car and their opportunities here!