When one thinks of an intern, they think of somebody who does all the side work for the employees and upper level management. Getting coffee for everybody, printing and copying everyone’s documents, and running petty errands are what comes to mind when I think of an intern. That was not the case for me when I interned for Enterprise Rent-A-Car in the summer of 2012. On my first day of work, I was greeted by my team with open arms and welcomed like I had known them my whole life. I was put to work right away doing the same tasks that my fellow employees were doing. My manager assigned me a “hip buddy” and I followed her around the first couple days, watching and learning how to be a superstar car rental employee. Our tasks consisted of checking customers into rentals, answering phone calls (the phone rang at least every 10 minutes), shuttling cars to various body shops, picking up and dropping off customers at their desired location, and completing back-end paperwork. I had my hip buddy for about four days, and then on my fifth day, I was checking customers into rental vehicles by myself and completing the whole rental process on my own. It was comforting to know that if I had ANY questions at all, I could turn to anyone on my team and they would answer the question for me, or direct me to whom I could talk to about answering a question.
During my internship, I also got the opportunity to visit our car sales branch as well as the branch at the airport. At our visits (visits were conducted with the four other interns), we were taken to lunch by the Branch Manager and had to opportunity to ask any questions that pertained to his branch. It was interesting to see the different operations associated with Enterprise. At first, I thought Enterprise Rent-a-Car was just a car rental company, but after witnessing the various operations, I know that they are so much more then your average car rental business. For the two months that I was there, my team went to dinner once a month and we reviewed how we can make the process better for the customer, as well as any recommendations that any of us had. It was nice to see that my manger took down my recommendations and considered me as a regular employee.
At Enterprise, the two main focuses for all employees is sales and service. As an intern, if you hit your minimum sales yield or go above the minimum required yield, you receive a $500 bonus at the end of the month. For the months of June and July, I hit my required yield and received a $1000 check. Nice little perk of doing a great job!!
The last day of my internship consisted of me presenting a slideshow to upper management about my experience with Enterprise Rent-a-Car and to present the corporate account that I landed. It was a little intimidating presenting to the “big dogs” of Enterprise, but once I was finished, I was surprised to find out that they chose me as the Outstanding Intern for the summer of 2012. I was rewarded another $500 bonus, and also got asked to stay on the team. Since then, I’ve been with Enterprise and am on my career path to stay with the company for the next couple years. Working for Enterprise has taught me the ins and outs of customer service, and how to handle all types of situations. I’ve become a better communicator and am no longer afraid to talk with strangers. I definitely would recommend the intern program to juniors and seniors who are in college and who are ready to be placed in a full-time position. It is a great start to one’s career, and it looks even better on a resume!!
Mandy Wittenbrink is an MBA student at the Robert O. Anderson Graduate School of Management. If you have any questions, Mandy can be reached at MandyW@unm.edu.