For my first internship it was everything I expected and more. I was never at a loss for what to do and the work was all relatively challenging. The best part however were the friends I made while at BMW. There were between 40 - 80 interns at the plant so there were plenty of people in the same boat as me leading to some great connections being made and some great socials. Great time!
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At BMW I really felt very well included in the office within the first couple of months. Since a lot of interns pass through the office everyone is used to having one there are are therefore very willing to get to know you and help you get settled in. My team especially were very friendly and we spent a lot of social mornings during lockdown talking about all of our very boring days and even more boring weekends!
While at BMW I was very well looked after by my manager. He was always around to ask questions if I was ever unsure about holidays, work load, paychecks.. etc. My direct team leader also helped find me a place in our teams workload very quickly. Occasionally I struggled with getting things like certain access rights approved as not many people up the chain of command would have heard of me and would therefore dismiss my request but these were few and far between.
I found a very good balance on a daily basis of going to meetings, completing the work I had been assigned as well as finding time to go for coffee with other interns on the plant. Obviously some days would be more busy than others but luckily as an intern a lot of my work wasn't production critical meaning there was always some leeway in the timing window that it needed to be produced by.
I feel like I was given the right amount of responsibility for an intern to have. Nothing too too important but also no completely trivial either. I was mostly just working on maintenance/ development of projects that had been run previously by other interns. As an intern I wouldn't have wanted control over very important systems as this would definitely have increased the level of stress in my internship and that's 100% something I can live without!
I honestly believe I've learnt more in my time at BMW than I have at my 2 years of university so far and I think this is testament to how broad of a scope of problems I been presented with while at BMW. I really think that the skills and tools I've gained while at BMW wont just help me in my final year at university but will hopefully help me in my future roles with other companies.
The office was very nice, spacious and modern. There were about 50 people in there at any one time meaning it always felt somewhat lively without being loud or overcrowded. It also included a kitchen where people brought in snacks for the whole office on their birthdays and regularly went to brew coffee. There are also lots of 'Pods' dotted around either for 1 on 1 meetings or just some time alone in the quiet to focus.
At least for me my time at BMW has been well structured and laid out as a result I think of my specific department being used to the process as they've had a lot of interns in the past. However, I've heard stories from other interns about less well run internships within BMW where students have had small handover windows or little to no work to do on a daily basis. So I think it varies a lot from dept to dept.
I received a bit of in house personal skills training such as interview practice and presentation practice. However, I didn't feel like BMW were specifically invested in me, but nor would I expect them to as I am only working for them for 1 year then there is no guarantee I would come back and them be able to get their money back. I was however given a lot of experiences such as trips to other plants across the country to widen my knowledge of BMW.
Firstly, I think that if I was a applying for a graduate role at BMW after finishing university I would have a higher chance as a result of taking part in this internship with them. However, the direct transition for the this internship directly into a job is basically non-existent. My department at least once replace heads when people leave really so there isn't space for a steady stream on interns turned full time employees after graduation.
The social atmosphere was great as there were a lot of other interns on plant meaning we could get together quite a lot of people for our Thursday pub socials. This was mostly run but us as a cohort of interns though meaning it could be different year on year as some years might not be as coordinated with setting up socials, but BMW do a lot to help bring interns across depts into contact with one another.
Prices in Oxford around the BMW MINI Plant are relatively expensive in comparison with the rest of the UK meaning slightly fewer nights out than most of us were used to but given that we were all working this is probably for the best anyway! Housing was also pretty expensive, but BMW offered help in the way of assisting interns in finding one another prior to the placement to house share close to the plant.
The nightlife in Oxford was great, there are some great clubs and bars such as Atik and Plush leading to some amazing nights out. Also as a result of Oxford being a university town during term time the clubs and bars are very populated with lots of other students our age. There are also lots of other things to do out in Oxford such as Mini golf, cafes and restaurants to eat out around West Gate.
As a department we hosted quite a few big events throughout the year from the Christmas Do to the Summer BBQ meaning there was quite a lot to look forward to. There were also a lot of smaller events hosted by my team for us to go and socialise. However again I think these are very department run meaning it could vary a lot from dept to dept with the amount of effort they put into there events.