1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I thoroughly enjoyed my placement with BMW. I was able to work on a variety of interesting projects, mostly focused around the cars themselves (product and pricing measures etc.), and felt like a made a real contribution to the company, which was rewarding. BMW treats its employees well which makes for a great office environment to work in.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
There is a great team ethic throughout the company. I had a strong bond with my immediate team of four, including my manager who was great and encouraged this team ethic. This meant that I felt like a valued employee, including to the wider department, and that the work I did had a real impact on the company.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I had fortnightly meetings with my manager, where we would discuss my general performance and my progress on current projects. These were very helpful and I felt comfortable raising any concerns I might have had and he would always provide me with any support if necessary.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Generally, I always had the right amount of work on in order to keep me busy and challenge me, but without being overloaded. I rarely had to stay late, but was always busy throughout the day and could complete my work within my normal hours.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
From the start, I was given responsibility to complete work which contributed to wider team projects, but throughout my placement my manager saw my skills develop and as a result was happy to delegate me more significant responsibility. In the final quarter of my placement I worked on a longer-term project where I was the main point of contact and could make decisions without requiring my manager's approval.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I think working in a structured office environment, something which I had little experience of prior to my placement, has been beneficial for my work ethic which will help when I return to university. The skills I developed in terms of teamwork, communication and management of responsibility will, I am sure, be invaluable later on in my career.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
A positive atmosphere and a great work ethic. There is a real team spirit in the marketing department where I worked, and this is reinforced by the team away-days that happen. Everyone in the department is very friendly and welcoming, and also very hard working and committed which makes it a great environment to work in.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
All the placement roles are permanent i.e. it is a permanent role which is just taken over by a new student each year. This means that the job is really valued by the company and as a student you can see the impact of your work. In addition, there is a very good handover scheme in place, so that the student from whom you are taking over can introduce you to the role and make sure you know what you are doing.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
There were few specific training courses etc available to placement students, however I would not say that this would have been necessary. The two week handover period at the start of the placement was a great form of introductory training, and I had regular meetings with my manager to review my personal development.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Above 25 days holiday
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
BMW have recently introduced a scheme whereby a small number of placement students will be offered sponsorship through their final year of university and offered a job upon graduation. This is something which I have applied for and am hopeful I will be successful. They also have a graduate scheme, which is very competitive, however having completed a placement is a bonus when applying.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There were just over 20 students in total across BMW and MINI, and we would often go out for meals or nights out together which was great.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I lived in Reading which is quite a good place to live and not too expensive. For nights out, bars and clubs range from the very cheap to the very expensive so it depends what you want to do.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
In Reading, the nightlife was fairly good, since it is quite a big place and it is a university town. With the upcoming BMW office move to Farnborough, however, I am not sure that Reading would be a convenient place to live, so I cannot comment on what Farnborough is like.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There were a number of social events organised by the company, at a team level, departmental and even the whole company. These are good fun and a good way to interact with people from around the business in an informal environment. Most notable is the Christmas party, which was very good fun,