As the national communications assistant, I worked in a team that covered CRM, Retailer marketing, Brand and Social Communications. My main responsibilities were within CRM and Social, as well as supporting the team overall.
I have really enjoyed my placement year at MINI. From experiencing the campaign launch of MINI's first Electric car in my first week, to working to develop regular customer communications. The pace of the job has been consistent throughout the year and there has been a number of opportunities for projects and tasks that have allowed me to develop my skills. The company have also been actively supportive in setting goals and objectives to develop my professional skills.
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As an intern, the way I have been treated and valued has varied across different colleagues and company associates throughout the year. Overall, I feel a valued part of the marketing team and have built great relationships with my colleagues. It's evident that my managers and colleagues have valued my input and work, whether through verbal recognition or by trusting me with further responsibilites. There has been various events throughout the year to build stronger relationships with the wider team as well.
I have had regular contact with my line manager and supervising colleagues, including weekly 1-to-1 catch ups. Two of my supervisors had completed their own placement years at BMW Group before returning to the company after their final year. Them having this experience meant they understood exactly what it was like as an intern and were able to give great advice and guidance on how to get the most out of my experience. The company also supported us with mentors, linking us someone to speak to outside of our daily roles.
I was consistently busy throughout the year, always with a full page of to-do's. In my role, I worked across a number of areas which often meant receiving work from multiple people, however my managers have always been conscious of this and have regularly checked in with me to ensure my workload was not too much, or ever too little. The MINI team overall is a busy and fast-paced team so I was glad to be contributing as much as I could.
I was progressively given more responsbility throughout the year. As expected at the start of my placement when I was learning the ropes I was supported significantly, however in the following months I was repsonsible for both recurring, BAU tasks as well as ad hoc projects. My managers were always happy to support if I ever needed, and I would update them on the progress of my responsibilites in our 1-to-1 catch ups, but it felt as though I did 'own' these projects/tasks.
The skills I have developed were very much learnt on-the-job, and would not have been developed to such an extent without this placement as a part of my degree. For example, basic professional skills and working relationships aren't reflective of University projects that aim to simulate these situations. The experience has provided me with a wide and varied context of the marketing industry that will therefore provide a lot more meaning to my final year of studies.
The atmosphere of the office was generally relaxed to an extent, with plenty of conversation amongst colleagues about work and outside of work topics. The office was always busy with people coming to and from meetings, however the environment was not too distracting that I struggled to get things done.
I was also very comfortable to pop over to a colleague's desk to ask a question or discuss a work related topic, which made my induction into the business a lot easier.
It was evident from the start that the Group had been running a placement scheme for many years as it was well organised. From inductions with various teams that were relevant to your role, inductions with associate companies/agencies, to ensuring a sufficient handover from the previous intern. Aside from this, there were quarterly objectives set with your manager to ensure you were getting the most out of your internship and a mentor scheme for previous interns working in the business to support current interns.
There were a couple of mandatory training sessions during my time, which was quite interesting and transferrable to future professional situations. There were also optional sessions that were available to sign up for that took place both online and on the campus.
As mentioned, there was also a focus on personal development of skills, which gave you the control of setting your own targets to grow in different areas.
I think the opportunities in training and development are there, but often have to be pro-actively seeked out and explored.
They're quite appealing, it's been great to see other previous interns return to work at the business and have the chance to ask questions about they're experiences. It's also very appealing that the company supports movement across the business, allowing you to explore different areas and roles before moving up.
Whilst the Coronavirus has prevented a formal process that helps you return to the business after gradutation, this has still been consideration for them as an employer.
Due to the fact that the company hires a large number of placement students, this meant that there was a good community of interns to create a social scene. Working in MINI this was slightly more difficult to enter as the majority of students work at BMW, however being proactive in socialising at the start of the year helped overcome this.
Team events also provided a great opportunity to build social relationships outside of the workplace.
I was able to rent a decent size house with 3 other placement students for £470 pp pc, only 10 minutes drive from work.
Going out for food/drinks/socialising was fairly average in price but lacked options locally. As interns, we organised a couple of nights in London which was more expensive as expected. Guildford is also quite close to the area, with lots more options available there being a city and a student area, including shopping, restaurants, bars, clubs etc.
The nightlife was quite minimal in and around Farnborough with a few clubs that were within a 15/20min radius, in Camberely and Fleet. We generally ventured to local pubs or occasionally had people around eachothers' houses which was a sufficient alternative with most students living within 10mins of eachother.
However, if you were to share a taxi or live near a train station then both London and Guildford are great options to access better nightlife.
There were opportunities to get involved in activites outside of work, most notably with groups such as charity champions, that held events and fundraising activites for the Group's chosen charity.