The value of an internship

the value of an internshipAs college students head back to campus, about 2,000 students will enter academic halls with more knowledge than they could have learned from any textbook this summer — because they gained real-world experience by completing the Management Training internship program at Enterprise.

Take it from Management Intern Mitch L. Now a senior at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Mitch is grateful his experience surpassed his initial expectations.

Learning the ropes

“I showed up for my internship expecting to file papers,” says Mitch, who worked at Enterprise’s branch in Appleton, Wisconsin. “As it turned out, I did everything but that. I learned how to think on my feet and carry myself in business situations, sharpened my report-building skills, and gained real-world marketing and sales experience,” he adds. “I even had the freedom to do what it takes to deliver great customer service. Having that autonomy as an intern helped me satisfy customers that are now more likely to come back.”

The internship — which follows the model of the Management Training (MT) program — shows college students what it takes to run a successful business. They cultivate entrepreneurial skills, develop marketing strategies, build business-to-business relationships and complete special projects. For his project, Mitch made a video detailing the differences between good and great customer service. And what’s his takeaway? “Good customer service doesn’t matter unless it’s great,” Mitch says with enthusiasm.

Forward thinking

Approximately 2,000 students completed the MT internship program this year.  Enterprise works to bring on approximately 50 percent of those who are eligible back to the Management Training program upon graduation.

Another forward thinker

One of those interns is Shirley C. The Boston native and Bryant University of 52.ShirleyCarrington.Tacos copyRhode Island student completed a summer internship at Enterprise’s largest branch in San Antonio, Texas. Like Mitch, Shirley joined as an employee referral because she’d witnessed someone else’s success.

Even though she’d only heard about Enterprise being a great place to work in Boston, Shirley quickly found out that what sets the brand apart among other employers extends beyond state lines.

“When I first arrived they were ready to help me succeed,” Shirley recalls. “Although initially I was a little nervous when they handed me my own tablet for reservations, I soon discovered my responsibilities were the same as a Management Trainee. I learned a lot during a short time, but my favorite take-away was learning how to be genuine with each and every customer,” she adds. “You just never know when a CEO will walk into the branch wearing gym clothes.”

Applying real-world experience

That intuition helped the business management major gain a better understanding of delivering superb customer service. “My teammates were always trying to find ways to make every customer interaction better,” Shirley says. “But, they also put the same amount of attention and energy into developing employees. Because Enterprise largely promotes from within, they’re basically grooming you from the moment they hire you to become the next General Manager. And that’s what I appreciate the most,” she adds. “If I put in my time and effort into a company, I want them to put their time and effort into me.”

Just like Mitch, Shirley recommends the program to others. “It’s definitely a worthwhile experience,” she says. “Plain and simple, interns are valued and the program is invaluable. You really can’t go wrong.”

Does Mitch look familiar? He was the grand prize winner of this summer’s Enterprise Careers #internchallenge on Facebook.