Spotlight on Internships: Taking the wheel and driving career results

internshipEach year, more than 1,500 college students suit up for the Management Training Internship program at Enterprise. Whether they’re fulfilling a prerequisite or pursuing entrepreneurial dreams, interns gain real-life experience, which paves the way for plentiful opportunities.

Seeing the potential

It wasn’t all that long ago that Tara K. — now Assistant Vice President of Manufacturer and Dealership Business Development — found herself looking for hands-on training. As a senior at New York’s Siena College, Tara had been searching for an internship for a marketing class. Had it not been for the Talent Acquisition Specialists visiting on the first day of classes to help with mock interviews, Tara’s career path might have taken a different course.

“The Enterprise employee I spoke with during that first day of marketing class said she had two intern positions open if I wanted to apply,” Tara recalls. “Initially, I wasn’t sure where an internship with a rental car company would take me, but the more I learned, the more excited I became about the possibilities.”

As an intern at the airport, Tara liked what she saw. “Seeing promotions from within really caught my attention and made me want more,” she says. “I’ve always been my biggest competition, so I focused on performance. Before I knew it, I was moving my way up through different positions. The more success I had, the more opportunities I received, which encouraged me to turn my internship into a career.”

That’s exactly what she did. Fourteen years later, Tara now works to bridge the gap between car manufacturers and dealerships, negotiating with manufacturers to ensure their warranty programs provide the best offerings at the dealership when their customers need repair work.

“It’s crazy to think all of this started with an internship. It’s a great feeling to know that I’ll continue to grow professionally and personally with every opportunity that comes my way.”

Three times an intern

Assistant Vice President of Government & Public Affairs Brian R. pursued three internships— two as an MT intern and one mid-career with Corporate Government and Public Affairs — because he knew he’d benefit from hands-on experience.

Brian’s first summer internship was a memorable one. Within weeks of joining the St. Louis airport branch, he decided to begin a career with Enterprise upon graduation. “I was drawn to the career path and liked that opportunities would be there if I worked hard. I knew Enterprise was the right fit, so upon returning to college in South Carolina I secured another internship to hone my skills as I completed my senior year,” Brian adds. “I wanted to hit the ground running after graduation so I soaked up all the experience I could get.”

That extra experience paid off. Within four months of starting full time, Brian became the Assistant Manager of a dealership branch that had more than 300 cars. And six months later, he began the first of several Branch Manager roles. Sometime later, to facilitate his desire to attend law school, Brian took a position at the Contact Center – which provided the flexible hours he would need to balance work and academic life.

But when a part-time internship opportunity with Corporate Government and Public Affairs presented itself, Brian made the difficult decision to step down from his full-time position to a part-time intern position at the Corporate office while he completed his law degree. “If it weren’t for that experience, I would not have even been considered for the full-time position I would ultimately accept in that same department upon completing my law degree and passing the bar exam.” A role Brian continues to play for the company more than ten years later.

“Without a doubt, I would not be where I am today had I not pursued all of those internships,” Brian explains.

Interning for a career

It didn’t take long for Rocio G. to find a reason to stay with Enterprise. Like many others, the intern-turned-successful-employee loves having fun. “I love the people I work with, and they’re one of the main reasons why I’ve stayed with Enterprise all these years,” says Rocio, who now works as a Human Resources Generalist in San Francisco.

“If I have to spend so much time somewhere during the day, I want to enjoy myself,” she explains. “For the past 15 years, no matter the team, that’s exactly what I’ve found.”

Aside from good company, Rocio says the benefits have been endless since her days as an intern. “In a short amount of time as an intern, I learned a lot about teamwork, sales and marketing,” Rocio explains.

“My internship was an eye-opening experience,” she adds. “The value of what I learned during that time has prepared me for everything I’ve accomplished along the way. In my opinion, that’s the best kind of internship one can ask for.”

Seeing the results

Vice President of Talent Acquisition Marie A. couldn’t agree more.

“Brian, Tara and Rocio are three fantastic examples of employees who demonstrate that the internship program is doing exactly what it should — providing a proven training ground to hone business skills and learn what it takes to run a successful business,” says Marie. “Our focus continues to be developing employees so they can determine if Enterprise is the right fit and can become the future leaders of the business.”