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Friday, January 6, 2017

Give the Undergraduate of the Year Awards a go like Adam did, and you too could gain a lot!

After speaking to one of my friends who reached the final of the competition last year, I thought I would throw my hat in the ring and give it a go myself. Indeed, I too was fortunate enough to make the final ten for Management Undergraduate of the Year. In this short piece I thought it would be useful to share the most pertinent takeaway for me, which relates largely to the benefits of being exposed to an entire recruitment cycle so early on during your time at university.

The first port of call was to submit an online application including two or three short essay answers, as well as online verbal and numerical reasoning tests. This was followed by a 30-minute telephone interview to understand my motivations for applying. My advice to anyone who makes this stage would be to do some research around Enterprise Rent-A-Car and really get to grips with how diverse the business is. More than anything, of course, just be yourself and convey a genuine enthusiasm for reaching the next stage and you’ll do just fine.

Once the telephone interview is complete you’ll be invited to an assessment centre at the European Head Office in Surrey. This is a half-day centre with roughly 6 or 7 other applicants from universities around the country. We started with a group exercise and then moved into one-to-one interviews before finishing up with an individual exercise that definitely tests your ability to manage and lead right from the outset. Although that sounds terrifying, don’t worry about anything – one of the most surprising things for me was how welcoming and friendly everyone was. It’s a target-driven environment with a flexible and hospitable atmosphere, and you’ll feel like you’re already part of the company within the first hour.

Once the assessment centre was complete we were invited to join the finalists and distinguished guests from Enterprise Rent-A-Car at Canary Wharf. There we were treated to lunch with Fiona Bruce before the awards were presented. As I pointed out earlier, the biggest learning curve for me was experiencing the full recruitment process, from online application all the way through to assessment centre and interview. No matter what stage you get to, you’ll have that experience in the bank to draw upon when it comes to applying for placements and/or graduate roles. That has certainly proved valuable for me when attending assessment centres and interviews in recent months.

In short, my advice would be to throw yourself in and get involved as it’s a great, risk-free environment to develop those transferrable skills that you’ll need when it comes to applying for that all important placement and graduate position. Of course, networking with fellow applicants and the guys from Enterprise is also one of the most valuable things that you’ll take from the experience. And even though there’s only one outright winner, whatever stage of the competition you get to is certainly a great asset on your CV, and will give you a great foundation from which to talk about your experiences in interviews.

I’m more than happy to answer any other questions or have a more general chat if you want to get in touch. My email is ajb204@bath.ac.uk or connect with me on LinkedIn.