Meet some of our Year in Business students; each share their own experiences and offer tips to help you in your search for a placement.
Mae Wang, Net App Inc
What is your job role?
I am just coming into my third month as a Project Manager Intern.
Tell us about your placement?
My line manager is extremely supportive and encouraging. Instead of making me do coffee rounds he has put me on multimillion-dollar projects. The main project I’m working on is for a High Street Bank, assisting the Global Programme Manager with the delivery the project in four countries (US, Mexico, UK and Hong Kong). I am responsible for managing and tracking project milestones, monitoring actual expenditure against budgeted, completing project key performance indicators (RADIO Log) to list a few. Did I mention I use Excel daily? – Not something I anticipated but I have grown to appreciate their beauty!
Overall, the role of a Project Manager is intense and requires a high level of time management and organisational skills but at the same time, you also learn very quickly and gain a lot of key transferable skills with the opportunity to build a long list of credible contacts both internally and externally. NetApp has been fantastic in terms of developing their interns, they are currently funding my Prince2 qualification for professional Project Managers.
What advice can you give other YIB students?
My tips for the current YIB students who are looking for placements are to be bold in your choices, apply for roles that are not heard of, even if you don’t have the knowledge or experience it could open new doors to you.
P.S. Take additional training in Excel. You will thank me later!
Freddy Ihnen, E.ON
What is your job title and what projects have you been working on?
As a settlement analyst at E.ON, I have entered the world of an extremely complex industry – the energy industry. I am based in Coventry as part of the E.ON Climate and Renewables Asset Commercialisation team, helping to secure and maximize income from our renewable energy production sites. These include predominantly windfarms, but also other technologies such as biomass sites. E.ON procures some of its renewable energy from third party wind farms and sites. My main role as a settlement analyst entails settling the invoices for this exchange and providing transparency to said third parties. During these activities, I settle several million pounds on a monthly basis and am involved in the reporting activities linked to this process.
Since this is a job of operational, day to day nature, I actively sought for opportunities to get my hands on projects and other hands-on experience and found that initiative is always rewarded. For example I was sent to a conference in London on the use of battery technologies with several colleagues; I visited a wind farm and got insights into the work on site; I worked on an international project involving market access in Poland; I even flew to Germany and stayed for two nights in order to participate in a financial modelling course. Most importantly, I racked up many interesting projects involving multiple different parts of the business. A project I am particularly proud of is a benchmarking project I am currently leading. It involves setting up a benchmarking model analysing how appropriate the prices E.ON Climate and Renewables gets for its energy are and whether there may be some room for extra income.
All in all, I am happy to say E.ON has opened many doors for me and my future and I will not hesitate to promote and recommend E.ON undergraduate opportunities to any future placement year students.
Amy Taylor, Enterprise Rent-a-Car General
What is your job title and what projects have you been working on?
It’s been 6 months since I started my placement year at Enterprise Rent-a-car at Heathrow Airport as a Management Trainee and I love every day of it. I am based just outside the airport on the retail side of the business. I have developed so much in the past few months, in a working sense but also as a student. This opportunity has taught me self-discipline and given me the determination to succeed. My role is a customer facing position, in which I get the opportunity to meet hundreds of new people every day from all over the globe and organise a hire vehicle for them. At the end of each day I participate in completing all the administrative duties for the day, this is where I have seen myself applying many of the modules from second year and how it relates to a real life business setting.
This industrial placement first appealed to me due to its wide variety of tasks and opportunity to try many different fields. Although my university course focuses on human resources I was at a loose end of what career path I wanted to follow. Here at Enterprise they have given the opportunity to try them all! From training new staff to reviewing financial figures and evaluating branch progression I feel that I will be going back to university next year with a much better understanding of all fields. Although the hours can be long I feel the placement year has not only strengthened my CV but also has prepared me for the daunting step between graduating and going into a full time job.
Jordan Maxwell, Vmware
Where is your placement?
I currently work at the global software company VMware, based in Staines, Surrey, which luckily for me meant I could continue living at Royal Holloway for my third year while enjoying just a ten minute commute to work every day. The company is heavily focused around IT, having recently merged with Dell a few months ago.
What do you do in your placement?
My current job title is Public Sector Sales and Business Development Intern. When I first arrived at VMware, my knowledge of the company and their services was limited. My skills in IT have grown but also in networking, presenting, event planning, social media, marketing, sales, time-management
I have also realised the need to find customers, sell to them, retain them and then find more –while using all the different departments at your disposal to work together to achieve your specific goals. In a nutshell, success relies heavily on synergy and communication between the various teams within the company. And I enjoy every moment of it.
One project I've enjoyed being involved with has been working with the Partner team to create vLogs for various events over April -June. My role involves filming, editing, and directing these vLogs – a task that was challenging to begin with but again allowed me to use my creative side and has been great fun to do.
In another project I helped one of my account managers build up a historical database of past sales for all the Police and Fire Departments in the UK, attended customer meetings and organised several corporate events for these customers. I helped contribute to a successful deal made by VMware’s Public Sector team which was very satisfying.
A project that stands out for me the most would be the Million Makers Challenge, which involved working with all the Interns (25 of us) to raise over £10,000 for the Princes Trust within 6 months. We were allowed to be creative, so we decided to set up auctions, quiz nights, stalls at Christmas markets etc. all of which helped us achieve our target in good time.
How do you find VMWare?
The culture at VMware is heavily focused at building a great work-life balance so while people have their jobs 9-5 (Mon-Fri), they are given the flexibility to wind down at times e.g. table tennis on the 3rd floor, yoga classes at lunch, golf tournaments, summer parties, international food weeks, the list goes on. So while there is work to be done, VMware wants their employees to be themselves. To expand on this, I am currently organising for my team to help refurbish houses in London for a Women's refuge in May. Once I posted the event, the number of responses was overwhelming, everyone wanted to get involved, which highlighted to me how blended in the company culture is.