Reducing the Customer Service Manager's spend on Goodwill gestures by streamlining processes and introducing new guidelines on Goodwill spending.
I highly enjoyed my internship at BMW Group UK where I worked in the Customer Service department of Aftersales. The location at the Headquarters in Farnborough was a great atmosphere to work every day – relaxed, casual and employee-focussed. The employees are friendly and welcoming and everyone makes the effort to talk to you, whether in line for a coffee or in the lift. Overall the 10 weeks has given me huge insight into the business as a whole and I would love to come back.
I did feel valued by my team. The project I was set for the 10-week internship was focussed on helping the Managers that I worked alongside. Every 3 weeks I presented my ideas back to the team to gain feedback which was a great way to get them involved. They viewed me as a colleague rather than as a student or intern which meant that I fit into the team very quickly.
My manager and mentor both gave me a huge amount of support. My manager and I had weekly catch-ups to see what I was doing and how I was getting on. I found this really helpful as it consolidated what I had done each week. All interns are given a mentor in a different department to support you as well. My mentor gave me a huge amount of help – putting me in contact with other teams, organising a trip to the MINI Oxford manufacturing plant and generally helping me along the way. The support I received made me feel more confident and able in my role.
I was fairly busy on a daily basis. The project I was set allowed me to be busy each day, however if I was not busy I would set up meetings with other teams to learn more about what they did in their departments.
I was given a lot of responsibility. The project I was set was aiming to save money in the Aftersales department which gave me huge exposure to many senior positions in the company such as the Director of Aftersales. I knew from the offset what was expected of me and what I was responsible for.
The internship has enhanced my confidence in the workplace which will help me in the future when applying for jobs etc. The skill I enhanced most was definitely networking with other teams and managers. Getting to know other teams allowed me to see sides of the business that I was not immediately exposed to, and I think this is something companies like BMW value from students also.
The atmosphere in Summit One (BMW UK HQ) is relaxed and employee-focussed which is one of the many perks of the job! Hours are flexible and we are encouraged to catch up with others over a coffee in the restaurant rather than in a meeting room. The open office plan means you can work where you want and when you want. The flexible working hours creates a great atmosphere too – people are in work when they want to be which is motivating. There are many clubs / activities that are run in Summit One such as yoga at lunchtimes and cardio circuit training in the evening which is an example of the employee-focussed nature of the company. Dress code is smart-casual, with many people wearing jeans everyday. The overall culture is very motivating and authentic!
My managers organised my internship very well – on arrival I was briefed on my project and I met all of the team. In my first week I was also introduced to the whole of the Aftersales department, Director of Aftersales and even the CEO of BMW Group UK! I didn’t get my laptop or login details till my second week, however I did expect this delay due to the company being so large and international (many IT authorisations are completed in Munich which causes a slight delay). I knew the aim of my internship from the start which I have my managers to thank as they spent a lot of time planning for my arrival.
I believe they invested in me hugely. From my experience if you told your manager what you want they would try their best to help you. This led me to visiting the MINI Oxford plant, the BMW Academy in Reading and retailers, driving in the new 7-series, i3 and i8 etc. BMW help students develop by giving each student a mentor in another department which I found extremely useful. The internship (called the Start-Up Programme) was all about developing 1st year students for the future therefore I found that everyone was willing to help you to experience as much of the company as possible.
The aim of the Start-Up programme is all about developing students for a placement year or graduate role therefore my future prospects with BMW Group are promising and I am hoping to come back for a year-long placement in a Marketing role starting Summer 2017.
There were only 3 students (including myself) on the 10 week internship whereas there were about 20 year-long placement students. I found the social scene between students to be fairly lacking however the year-long students may have had a better social scene. I socialised often with my team in Customer Service which I found very fun, however I know that other teams were less social.
I was fortunate enough to live at home whilst on my internship however Farnborough and surrounding areas are quite expensive.
The Nightlife is quite good and Summit One is only a short train ride away from London which is useful. Farnborough is a quiet area however so students coming from large cities would be disappointed with the Nightlife.
BMW arrange many sporting activities - during my internship there was weekly yoga, weekly circuit training in the evening, football tournaments etc.