Enterprise Rent-A-Car case study

About Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Enterprise Rent-A-Car, a $12 billion international transportation leader, is the largest rental car company in North America in terms of fleet size and locations. We have over 75,000 employees across the UK, Ireland, Germany, Canada and the United States.

About the internship

A bespoke year-long placement with Enterprise Rent a Car, based in Birmingham.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car placements provide a comprehensive introduction to the organisation’s Management Training Programme with placement students playing an integral role in the success of the organisation. Real world professional business experience can put university students above the rest when they enter the job market.

The Management Placement Programme enables students to acquire highly marketable skills and experience pertaining to every aspect of running a successful business. You will soon discover that every day is different because it is filled with so many new, exciting, rewarding, and often unexpected challenges. There is not one consistent aspect; however, every day you will learn more about sales, marketing, customer service, business management, and administrative skills than you ever thought possible. Not only is it a paid placement programme, but you may also be eligible for performance incentives and employee referral rewards. The business training you will receive will be an amazing jump start to your career.

Interview with Amy Aitken

Amy was a successful applicant from the University of Birmingham for the Enterprise Rent-A-Car year-long placement between 2011 and 2012. Upon completing her placement year, Amy returned to university to complete her final year of study and was then accepted onto Enterprise’ graduate programme, - which she started in the summer of 2013. Currently Amy is a Management Trainee, based in central Birmingham.

What made you apply for the opportunity?

I found out about the opportunity through a placement fair at the university and then I researched more information online through the company website. I applied because it was a business opportunity that would allow me to work in, and develop business skills from different departments such as marketing, sales and customer service. Furthermore the idea of progressing up the career ladder to ultimately running my own business really grabbed me as there were clearly opportunities for repaid development into management.

What were your preconceptions before starting the placement?

As a placement student, I expected to be treated differently to other members of staff, even those who were on the graduate placement. However, I was pleasantly surprised by being given exactly the same opportunities with regards to training and responsibilities.

What did you hope to develop during the placement (in terms both of any specific understanding and also any employability skills that you wished to develop)?

Part of the reason for deciding to do a placement was to enhance my employability through gaining experience as well as developing transferable skills to take back into the work environment and to apply in the final year of my degree.

What were your first impressions?

My first impressions were that there was a lot to learn! However, that is the same with every job when you are a new starter. It was obviously quite daunting, but something that stood out was how much everyone was willing to help and answer questions, even if it was the same one over and over again! I also thought that the level of customer interaction was great.

Please provide an outline of your duties

On a day-to-day basis the role generally comprised of customer service and sales. It was a forward-facing role with a lot of customer interaction, both face-to-face and via the phone. From the first to the last point of contact the job is to make sure the client is completely satisfied with the customer service they have received from us.

I also dealt with business accounts. Each employee is allocated their own accounts which they regularly interact with and develop in order to maximise income. Furthermore, it was also part of the role to generate leads which can develop into new accounts for the business.

Training was also a big part of the placement, ensuring you stay on track with your own development as well as helping new starters train when they first joined the company. These are just a few of the responsibilities you take on as an intern, placement student or trainee with Enterprise. The job is highly varied which means work is kept busy and interesting.

Please provide an overview of your progress as went through the internship (what you did, how the tasks went, what support you received, what the rest of the office team was like)

Throughout my placement I undertook three stages of the management training programme, which is the role taken on as an intern, placement student or Management Trainee. When I completed my placement I was on the final stage before the final interview to complete the programme. Since returning, I have completed this, which means I qualify to apply for Branch Assistant Manager roles. The stages of training are outlined clearly, but it is an employee’s responsibility to take control of their own development. As promotion is internal, everyone surrounding you has also undertaken the training programme and are therefore always willing to help.

Your thoughts at the end (how it went, whether it met your expectations, were your preconceptions appropriate or naïve, how it may have influenced your outlook with a view to graduate career options and working in this sector)

Once I completed the placement I was really pleased I had taken on the challenge and continue to recommend a placement year to anyone who gets the opportunity. It exceeded my expectations with regards to the responsibility I was given and the opportunities I had. Furthermore, the chance to return to the graduate programme after completing my degree was something I had really hoped for.

I felt having undertaken a placement year gave me an insight into what to expect after university. It also provided me with experiences to refer to throughout my final year as well as a topic for primary research for my dissertation.

What would you encourage any of your peers seeking similar opportunities next year to consider (in terms of application and also what to do when undertaking a placement)?

I would encourage everyone to apply for this opportunity if they enjoy interacting with the public and are up for the challenge of working in sales, and not to be put off if you don’t know much about cars!

When undertaking a placement I would encourage people to research thoroughly, as there is a wide variety of opportunities available to students. Also, use it as an opportunity to learn about what is required when on a graduate scheme and learn as much as you can. This can then be applied in your final year of university. Work hard and in turn you should be successful!

Posted on Wednesday 5th February 2014