Working in the HR Planning and Steering team for BMW UK in the Oxford MINI plant.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
My internship was a great experience. I worked as a HR Planning Intern for the BMW Group in Oxford. I took part in lots of different projects and got an insight into how a multi-national business operates. The nature of the role meant that there were very few repetitive tasks, which made it all the more enjoyable.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I worked in a small but very busy team, who gave me a lot of responsibility and demanded a lot from me. The team were good friends as well as colleagues, and they incorporated me into the group right away. The team were a big part in my enjoyment of the internship.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
The team I was in was made up of managers, who very busy and all had different responsibilities. However, whenever I had an issue or needed some support, they would always make time to help. I sometimes found communication difficult and understanding my priorities was not always easy, but in most cases there was help when needed.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
It was not always consistent. In the beginning I didn't have much work to do, but as my internship progressed and I picked up more responsibilities, most days were fairly busy. On some days I had to stay late in order to get work done, but because of flexible working I could leave early another day, which suited me.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Plenty. I was expected to deliver on a few projects and built a trust from my manager which meant I gained a lot of responsibility over time. I think with any role you must first build up trust before you are given more responsibility, but the opportunities were certainly there.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The theory and knowledge you will have gained from Uni will be put to practical use during this role. You will be expected to apply what you have learned and use and develop it during the role. I picked up a lot of skills and practical knowledge which well help me in my final year of study and in future emloyment. However, a lot of the work you do is specific to the BMW Group, which means it will be fairly useless elsewhere.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The atmosphere was usually positive. There were a friendly group of colleagues who you could chat to about your weekend, the football results or any other mutual interests. The office was open plan, with around 20-25 people working, so there was always someone around and it was a nice atmosphere to work in.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The internship was fun and it was great to be a part of such a great team, however it seemed to be a common problem that there wasn't much emphasis on developing the student, you were there to do a job and that was the expectation. This is something that was worked on during the internship however.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
The team helped me to develop certain skills which I will definitely use going forward. I attended on a training course on website development early on, and if there was ever anything I needed to learn training was made available. However, I do feel there was more I could have learned.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Above 25 days holiday
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
There are lots of different graduate positions available across the BMW Group in the UK. However, as I would like to work in HR, there may not be an opportunity for me to return as they don't recruit a HR graduate every year. However, I enjoyed working in my team and would like to return if possible.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There were over 100 interns based on the plant, from lots of different backgrounds. It was a great opportunity to make friends from all over the world. There was a weekly social event and lots of other opportunities to get together outside of the working world. The team had a few workshops which usually involved an evening of social activity which was fun to be involved in.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Being from the North, the cost of living was much greater than I was used to, which made it difficult at times to save as much as I had hoped to. However, the salary is sufficient as to pay the bills and have plenty left over for social activities.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Oxford nightlife is very similar to most other cities with a student population. However, it is very expensive and you will need to be prepared to pay if you like a drink. However, there are a few fun clubs and you will enjoy yourself.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
We regularly played 5 a side football, there were outdoor opportunities with the BMW mountain challenge, and plenty of opportunity to go for a social drink. With so many other interns, there is always plenty to be getting involved in.