The TARGETjobs Management Undergraduate of the Year award offers a unique way to design your own summer internship at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, one which is intended to include a week spent at one of the company’s international offices. Of course, all of this is dependent on the situation with Covid – it may be that the summer internship has to be virtual, but you can be sure that Enterprise Rent-A-Car will ensure you have a great, CV-worthy experience.
Enterprise has also been known to offer internships and placement years to impressive students, even if they don’t win – so it is definitely worth applying.
How do you enter the Management Undergraduate of the Year Award?
To enter you’ll need to pass through an application process as you would when applying for graduate programmes. It includes:
- an online application form with one question to answer (see below)
- online tests
- a telephone interview and an assessment centre
How do you answer Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s application question?
Enterprise’s application question for the TARGETjobs Management Undergraduate of the Year Award is: Describe a time when you have had to take on a position of responsibility (social/academic/personal). This could be a one-off project or something that you still take part in now. What was the situation and what success did you have? What challenges did you face? What did you learn about yourself as a leader?
The word count is 350 words.
There are essentially two elements to providing a strong answer to this: choosing the position of responsibility and describing it in sufficient detail.
Choosing your position of responsibility
Enterprise is clear that it defines position of responsibility quite broadly: it can be from any area of your life, be a one-time project or be a long-term role that you still hold. Common positions of responsibility for university students include:
- being a course, student or college rep
- being a coach or a mentor
- taking on a supervisory role in a part-time job, such as shift manager
- taking on a project management role or student committee role in a society
- taking the lead on an academic group project
- a part-time or holiday job or volunteer work with children (for example as a TEFL teacher or tutor) or vulnerable adults.
However, your position of responsibility could be something entirely different. While Enterprise is interested in a time when you took the lead on something, don’t just choose the most impressive-sounding title on your CV. Choose instead the position of responsibility in which you had the most impact. Quite frankly, being an unofficial social secretary of a society and arranging three socials a term for 40 people would be more impressive than if you were president and did little more than send in the right forms and preside over a fall in membership.
Describing your position of responsibility
Enterprise helpfully gives you some guiding questions to help you structure your answer; make doubly sure you cover each of them. Whichever position of responsibility you write about, don’t assume that the recruiter will know what a university-specific title or name of a society is; explain the basics.
When outlining your success(es), make sure you give sufficient context so that Enterprise understand why they were successes. Essentially, define what 'success' is within the remit of your role. If you exceeded a target, say so and say what the target was. If you gained a result in unlikely circumstances, explain what those circumstances are. If you can, quantify your successes.
Similarly, think about what ‘challenge’ means to you. It could be a particularly stretching goal you set yourself (or was set for you); it could be an obstacle in the way of achieving your aim(s); it could be a task you found difficult or felt nervous about. Accentuate the positives (whether this is how you overcame the challenge or met the goal, or what you learned).
When describing how you have developed as a person and as a leader, it’s probably helpful to start thinking about how you have used the different skills that combine to make a strong leader (our management and leadership skills feature list many of these). Reflect, too, on your emotional self-development: has this position of responsibility made you more self-confident? More empathetic? More decisive? Write about it.
Although it is probable that you will be writing about a team situation, avoid using the words ‘we’. Instead of writing about what ‘we’ achieved; write about how you (‘I’) contributed to that achievement.
How do you succeed at the online tests?
The online tests are set by SHL and include a personality quiz, a situational judgement test and an inductive reasoning test. Previous attendees have stressed the importance of following your instincts rather than trying to ‘game’ the system, but to practise all the tests you possibly can to become familiar with the process and time restrictions. The SHL website has free practice tests and our commercial partner AssessmentDay provides both free and paid-for tests.
How do you succeed at the interview and assessment day?
The top 60 candidates who pass the online tests have a 20-minute telephone interview, usually with Ashley Hever, talent acquisition director at Enterprise. The exact questions aren’t disclosed to us, but previous candidates have suggested that the majority of questions are based around you. It would be wise to think about:
- your strengths and weaknesses
- your key achievements and times when you have made a difference
- how you make decisions, take the lead and work in teams
- what inspires and motivates you
- how you deal with setbacks and obstacles.
Of course, you need to do some proper research into business management roles at Enterprise: bear in mind that a management role at Enterprise involves managing and leading people and processes, providing great customer service and maximising sales. Ashley will be seeking candidates who have the potential to succeed in this role. Check out Enterprise’s website for tips and insights from intern and placement students, but make sure that you think of times when you yourself have worked in teams, delivered good customer service, solved problems, organised your work and so on.
For the assessment centre, in particular, keep in mind that Enterprise seeks a ‘yes’ mentality in candidates, so actively contribute to whatever exercises you are given; don’t hang back because of nerves. Previous assessment days have included:
- networking event
- a task to assess your management skills, such as chairing a meeting
- a final interview.
The secret for networking events is to prepare good questions to ask and your ‘personal pitch’, and to take an interest in others. If you are given a task such as chairing a meeting, remember that your role as chair is to balance direction and the need to get through the agenda with the ability to allow everyone to have their say.