1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
Working at the BMW Group has been a fantastic experince, not only do you pick up real industry knowledge and skills but also pick up some great freinds a long the way. One critique is the lack of structure at the start of the placement but once you're set up you get into the flow quickly.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Like any placement, you're bound to be given the odd 'intern job'. But, even when the smallest job was presented upon me, once completed, my colleagues showed great gratitude and always thanked me for my help. Having a good relationship with my team also meant I contributed to the work place banter which fruthered my self value to the team.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Whenever I needed help with a project or dilemma however basic I thought it was, work related or not, my manager and team were happy to hear it and help me out. This meant I never felt scared to ask anything, or isolated from the rest of the team.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Work load varied a lot day to day, some days I would not be able to sit down and others I would be looking at holidays. This I feel is fairly normal though and as a whole I did have work to do that occupied the majority of my days.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
On my placement I was in charge of my own projects that had real world targets and effects and therefore I was accountable for what happened. In addition to managing small teams, I regularly travelled alone to suppliers and represented BMW on current topcis.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
My role was not directly linked to my degree, therefore I did not eceive much technical knowledge. However what was more valuable was seeing real world application of knowledge from my degree and picking up soft skills like communicaiton an office etiquette that you can't learn in the lecture theatre.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The office atmosphere is relaxed, with a generally relaxed work ethic. It is expected that if there is work to do, you do it, but if there is not, nobody will give you a hard time for having a coffee break. In my department, if I wanted to leave early, people woulndt think twice about it and there was no animosity when this happened.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Organisaiton of the interhsip process overall was very poor, mainly down to HR not being organised and stagering interns over a couple of months. When starting, you had to set yourself up, there was no pre planned structure, just a checklist. Once you started, the work you did was down to the competency of your manager and what he saw fit for you. Luckily my manager gave me projects to run and therefore something I could grow and gain results from where as other interns were not so lucky.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
Aside from being given meaning full work that allowed me to travel around the country and obvsious benefits that come from doing the job like personal development in the work place, I was given very little training and development. BMW showed a lack of interest in investing in its interns and much more in its apprentice program.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Above 25 days holiday
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I would return to the BMW group as I loved my colleagues and the work they do is interesting and as a company, in terms of benefits, company car scheme etc it is great. But at the same time I won't close off prospects to other parts of the automotive industry or even new industries all together.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
My year of interns were great, we would regularly have coffee in the morning together and there would be weekly socials ranging from drinking events to go karting. On top of that, my team were all great and there was a strong presence of banter in the department and we would have quartely social events.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Living in Oxford is quite expensive, but as I was used to relatively high rent prices it did not make much of a difference. This is similar for the socialising aspect, pint prices are quite high compared to many places, around £4.5-5 so pub crawls will set you back a fair bit.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Plenty of pubs on offer, easily enough to not get bored if you're out 3 times a week. In terms of clubs, there are a few pub/clubs which are alright, but club wise there is no much choice and entry is rather expensive. However if you do have some money to spend there are a few roof top bars which are fantastic in the summer.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Aside from the weekly socials and pub crawls, there are few things you can get involved in outside of work with colleagues. One thing is the weekly football hosted by interns for a couple of hourse on a Wednesday. Other things include visiting Oxford Brooks climbing wall or socialising at the on site gym.