1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I really loved my placement at BMW UK. Every day was different and I genuinely didn't have a single day where I dreaded going to work. The working culture completely exceeded my expectations - you're encouraged to be authentic and original. Not only this, but you're encouraged to work flexibly and work from home too to fit your schedule around your home like/personal commitments. Every one was so friendly and made every day enjoyable.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I felt completely valued by my colleagues. We weren't just colleagues, We were friends. My team was like a little family and We often had off site team meetings to share ideas and socialise at the same time. I was always encouraged to do more and was pushed out of my comfort zone all throughout the year. I felt confident enough to give my opinion, knowing that it wouldn't be ignored as I was 'just a student'.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My manager gave me lots of support and guidance over the year. We have 1-2-1 catch up's every two weeks, where We would discussed what I'd done in that time period and set tasks for the next period. He was very approachable and I definitely felt like I could ask him anything if I needed to - I didn't have to worry about looking stupid as he'd always be more than happy to help.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
My level of tasks and responsibilities varied throughout the year - I was busiest around the launch of a new car model. At this time, I was super busy and would have no free time at all. However, the workload was quieter post-launch so although I still had daily tasks and routines to carry out, I had more free-time for non-urgent things such as catch-up's with other staff members.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given much more responsibility than I initially expected! My team trusted me with important roles such as setting up car models to allow customers to order them, or writing copy to announce the launch of a new car. I thought these would be tasked that only experienced staff members would undertake but I was able to get fully involved and do them myself.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The main skills I developed were organisation skills, communication skills and the ability to work under pressure. These have already helped massively in my final year at university. I have been able to balance my work load so much better than previous years by planning everything out in advance. I am much more confident in presentations after presenting all throughout my placement year.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
So much fun! BMW encourage openness, collaboration and authenticity. You definitely feel like you can be yourself at work without being judged. Everyone is so friendly that the teams all get on so well, even if you're in other departments, you still get to know people just from walking past and stopping for a chat. It was not at all the corporate atmosphere that some might expect from such a big company.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Extremely well organised - the support from HR during the early stages (contracts etc) was good. The students at the time provided a great handover and induction, fully supporting us with everything. The rest of the placement wasn't any different - manager and team support was incredible and there was a clear plan for my year. It was outlined early on what I'd have the chance to get involved in so I knew exactly what to expect.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
We had mandatory training programmes to complete online, for example GDPR. I was also lucky enough to be provided with many opportunities to get involved in extra things. My team encouraged me to present at events that weren't necessarilly within my job role, but allowed me to experience different areas of the corporate world and develop valuable skills.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Above 25 days holiday
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
My goal after uni is to go back to BMW, so very appealing! I don't think any other organisation will live up to the incredible experience I had there. The working culture was definitely my favourite part, and I'd hate to go into something strict and corporate following that. I'd love to return to BMW.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Yes there was a good social scene. We were a close group of students. In the marketing department there was 12 students, and We regularly went to the pub after work or did stuff together on the weekend. The social element within my team was good too, not just with other students.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Not overly expensive - it's just outside of London so prices are cheaper than they'd be in central. I didn't find it to be any more expensive than if I was going out with my friends from home. There are some nice pubs local to the office that everyone would go to. Considering We were students, they were still affordable.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Not the best but not the worst. There was a local club that We went to that was more of a cheesy night out, but was always fun. It was definitely different to being at uni where you're spoiled with choice, but it was still enough to make the year extra enjoyable!
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Absolutely. We took part in many volunteering days over the year, which included helping to 'do up' a childrens playground. We also organised a skydive for charity which was incredible! There were multiple department days throughout the year which would always include a social element in the evening, as well as off-site team days that were mainly social rather than work-based.