KT Simmons completed Enterprises Rent-A-Car’s Management Internship Program, gaining skills in problem-solving, adaptability, and communication.
How did you get your internship and why did you choose it?
I got my internship by going to the University's Spring Career Fair. When I was there, one of the recruiters started talking to me about the fair, why I was there, and we even talked about how overwhelming these events can feel. Eventually we started talking about the company she was representing, and she spent a lot of time talking about the company culture and the opportunities at Enterprise.
Given her description of the company and the roles available, I decided to apply. After my application, I had a virtual interview followed by an in-person interview and shadowing experience where I got to see a lot more of what the internship would actually be like. I talked to my recruiter a lot about the company culture, the type of people they try to hire, and all the events they have to show appreciation for the employees. I felt like I fit in well with the way the company was described and loved that during my shadowing experience I saw that my recruiter was being very truthful in her description of the job as well as environment. I loved getting to shadow for an hour and talking with the people I would possibly be working with and realized the experience would be a great fit for me so when I received the offer, I accepted it.
Another factor that influenced my internship selection was the fact that my internship was during my first summer in Arizona. All of my friends went back to their hometowns for summer and I knew nobody in town and was really worried that I would be bored or lonely. When looking for an internship, I was not just evaluating them based on best job experience or pay, I was looking for a job that hired people like me. I wanted to work with people I enjoyed being around, and would want to see outside of work despite seeing them for 40 hours a week already. It was important to me to pick a job where I liked the people I worked with, so that was definitely a big factor I was evaluating when looking at companies and internships. I spent a lot more time looking at company culture as well as expectations of workers, and it enabled me to find a company full of people as outgoing, energetic, and friendly as I am. I think this job brought out the best side of me and introduced people who exemplify similar values of my own and create wonderful role models and friends for myself.
What did you find challenging about your internship?
I have never had a full time job before and was terrified to start working 40 hour weeks at a "big girl job". The first two weeks I was so exhausted after every day and I got super sick after the second week just from being so drained. My body and mindset eventually adjusted, and since I love working there so much I found that throughout the day I really wasn't thinking about how tired I was. After adjusting my schedule for my personal life and creating a new balance and expectations for myself I got used to working full time. Especially after seeing the first full paycheck hit my bank account, I felt good about the time I spend working in ratio to my own personal time.
What was a big project that you worked on?
In the final weeks of my internship, we were asked to create a proposal and presentation on something that would improve operations or benefit the company. For my project, I chose to restructure the training schedule to move around what we learned, how, and to what extent in our first week. There were a lot of things we learned at our training course I felt could be retained better if we trained at the store by shadowing. There were also some things we learned at the store that I thought would be better introduced in our training sessions in a calmer environment with lower stakes and time for practice. I also encouraged more education on the companies we partner with as well as the other divisions of our own company. I’m proud that the Human Resources department head for the state of Arizona saved my proposed schedule, mentioned some of the ideas she liked best, and said she plans on using my proposal as a reference when recreating the training guidelines!
How has the internship influenced your plans for my future?
The internship influenced my future plans by creating excitement for entering the professional world. I loved my internship and have received an offer to continue on after I graduate as well as continue as an intern while I finish up my degree. I am now trying to plan a future within the company I worked at and create a possible career journey for myself. I have reevaluated my plans for where I want to live, and how I want to reach my career goals in terms of title, timeline, as well as personal growth and fulfillment for my career. I have much higher expectations for job satisfaction after this job and know that even if I do not stay with my company forever there are jobs and careers out there that will fulfill me and not just be a necessity to independent survival.
What advice do you have for other students as they search for and begin their internship?
When looking for an internship, ask many questions. You want to know what you are getting into before you commit and once you are there the best way to learn is to ask questions about things you do not understand and ask more questions about things you see mentors and those you admire doing. Trying to take steps to learn things before you are expected to will not only make your job easier as you progress, but it will also give you more freedom to do tasks on your own because supervisors will know that if you need help you will go to them.