If you pay attention to the origin stories of CEOs, executives, and other business luminaries, one thing probably sticks out to you pretty frequently: Many of them got an early head start in learning business with hands-on experience and a ton of training.
But the problem with most internship programs is that they usually only offer one or the other: Programs with huge training components don’t always offer the opportunity to apply those learnings in a way that a full-time employee would.
The opposite is also true: Many internships that do offer a ton of hands-on experience just do so with trial by fire, throwing you into tough situations without enough training or guidance.
Enterprise’s Management Internship Program is an exception. We sat down with a graduate of Enterprise’s program to get a sense of what a training-intensive, business-focused internship is like—and why it was so valuable for her career.
Learning Business From The Ground Up—And Putting It Into Action
At this point, Rachel is an Enterprise veteran. She’s been promoted several times and worked in different branches, but she got her start in their Management Internship Program.
“It’s a 10-week internship,” Rachel says. “And it starts with this phenomenal training.”
That training, which consists of a few days at one of the company’s regional headquarters, places you in groups with other interns in the program. It covers everything, from specifics of the Enterprise business model to working with outside business partners, but the focus, Rachel says, is on the state-of-the-art training.
“There were a lot of good wording strategies and sales techniques that we learned,” Rachel says. “They do a lot of role-plays, a lot of team building stuff. Everyone’s in the same boat as you. And we have someone there who is experienced, who can be like, ‘Actually, here’s a good way you can word it.’”
Once she was back at her home branch, the skills Rachel developed in the initial classroom-style training were quickly put to the test. She began taking on the tasks for which she trained: managing customer relationships, sales, working with outside business partners, and everything else that goes into running a business.
Why Sales Experience Is Especially Valuable For Interns And New Grads
Enterprise wants to train their employees to be well-rounded in all aspects of business, including sales. For Rachel, the sales training was invaluable.
“Sales training actually helped me a lot with my communications skills. When you’re selling something, you have to make sure people fully understand you,” Rachel says.
“You don’t want to give off a false image or idea of what something is,” she says—noting this is also one of the biggest misconceptions people have about sales as a field.
“When I was growing up, people always tried to make salespeople seem like bad people, that they were trying to win one over on you. And that’s nothing like how we are at Enterprise.”
“We’re doing it because we believe in the product. We’re doing it because we believe that if you purchase it, you will benefit from it,” Rachel explains.
At Enterprise, it’s more about being a quality partner to the customers. How can you better understand their goals? How can you communicate the best set of products to help them achieve their goals? Like any business scenario, it requires communication and an understanding of the customer and what you can offer them. It’s an extremely important skill for anyone in business to have.
“We’re just trying to give people as many options as we can, so that they don’t assume they can only have one outcome,” Rachel says.
The Best Way To Learn: From The People Around You
Rachel learns from her managers, her peers, and from the real responsibilities she’s had since the start.
It’s a people-focused venture—and the same compassion Enterprise employees have for their customers, Rachel reveals, they always extend to each other. It’s why Rachel and her colleagues became such close friends—and part of the reason she wants to stay with the company for so long.
“I remember the whole crew I started with. They taught me everything, and it was such a fun summer.”
Rachel’s colleagues and mentors were important resources for her, providing answers to her questions and new challenges for her to take on. Her Enterprise team made sure the learning didn’t stop with the formal training program.
They had each other’s backs when it came to work, but the connections were more than just professional.
“We’re very serious about our customers and our jobs, but we have fun and joke around when we can. We’ll make a good time out of anything, like a hot summer day,” she notes.
The best part of these friendships? Almost three years later, they keep in touch—because they’re still with Enterprise.
“There are a lot of people that went from intern to Management Trainee. And I know that they’re loving it too.”
Rachel claims they all stayed for the same reason: “The people, definitely.”
“The people are so much fun. We have hangouts and events. And I just know that if I left, I would really miss these people,” she says.
But it’s not just Rachel who sees a future at Enterprise; company leaders also see a future in her (and all of the people in the Management Internship Program). Rachel’s boss has been with her since her internship and overseen her development every step of the way.
“My area manager has definitely done so much for me. Even when I was in school, she would take the time out of her day to make sure I was on track, see how school was going,” Rachel explains.
The Management Internship Program ensured that Rachel was prepared for the job market, which is why Enterprise ended up hiring her full-time. This cycle of teaching, doing, and supporting each other is how Rachel grew so much and why she decided to come back.
“They made sure I got the proper training so that once I did join the Management Training Program, I would succeed. I became a Management Trainee in September 2018, and four months later I was promoted to Assistant Manager. I was fully prepared and I knew everything I needed to know,” Rachel says.
“Having that support and knowing that my manager always has my back,” she notes, “it’s why I’ve stuck around so long, and I’ll be here so much longer.”
Ready to get experience that could shape your career? Check out opportunities from Enterprise on WayUp.