1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
Working with an automotive OEM for the first time, I have gained valuable practical insights in the logistics sector of automotive industry through the one-year internship at the BMW Group. I have had a great placement at the MINI Plant Oxford that has broadened my professional network and expanded my practical and theoretical skills and knowledge in Logistics Planning.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
The experts of the department treated me as part of the team from day one and encouraged me to bring my own ideas to the table, giving me the opportunity to really prove my strengths and commitment. The hierarchy is relatively flat compared to the work environment in Germany, which made it easy to quickly integrate into the Supply Chain Planning team.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
The supervisor and colleagues dedicated much of their time for a detailed explanation of the company, the products and the supply processes. They also were very open to questions and helping you in case you had any problems with fulfilling your task or other work-related topics. I could even expect quite active support from management level of our department.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
As in any other business, some days are busier than others. Generally speaking, my workload was balanced and appropriate to the position of a student. If you felt there was too much or not enough tasks assigned to you, there was always the possibility to speak up and the supervisor or team was endeavored to find a solution.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
MINI Plant Oxford was providing a work environment where you were able to learn by doing and where you are given your own areas of responsibilities, which have changed in the course of the long-term internship, of course. The supervisor tried to include me in projects or even gave me the responsibility to organise a workshop myself.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
In summary, the internship has broadened my professional knowledge and fostered my personal skills but also to detect where I could improve. It has helped me in deciding which academic career to strive for and therefore will be very useful in the future when applying for a job in this field.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Unfortunately, the support from sides of Human Resources was not the best. The position got advertised on short notice, so that there was not enough time to get all paperwork done prior to the first day of work. There was only little support from HR in the first days. It was all about the colleagues and other interns in the department to help you with initial administrative tasks.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
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?
Even though the internship was great, I would assess my chances to work with BMW in the near future relatively low. As I will go back to Germany and there is little job positions advertised, so far there was no chance to apply. My application for the BMW's Master program "FastLane" unfortunately was not successful, so that I am forced to look into jobs at other companies.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There are about 100 students and graduates at Plant Oxford, as far as I know. They organise a meet up every week and additionally some group activities. It was also very popular to loan a car and do trips on the weekend together. The social scene amongst both colleagues and students was quite strong.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
It is nothing new, that Oxford is an expensive place to live in as it is very close to London as well. The rents are high; food and drinks are expensive. Yet, living in a shared house and looking for cheaper places to buy necessities made it possible to afford living here for a year. Also, the salary for interns is adapted to the high cost of living.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?