“A lot of people feel like they have to apply to jobs that match their major exactly. But that isn’t true. As a Sports and Exercise Science Major, I had two internships that sparked my interest in sales and ultimately led me to the Management Training Program at Penske.” – Natalie Britt, University of Central Florida Grad and Management Trainee at Penske Truck Leasing.
If you think your major dictates what field you’ll end up working in after you graduate, then Natalie Britt, a management trainee at Penske Truck Leasing, has a message for you: Think again.
Her own story proves as much. She went from majoring in sports and exercise science at the University of Central Florida to working at Penske, a company that spans continents and revolves (literally) around more than 260,000 vehicles. Since she’s not helping those trucks rehab from sports injuries (at least as far as we can tell), how, exactly, did she get from there to here?
We went straight to the source to find out more about her experience and learn what advice she has for anyone hoping to follow in her footsteps (or, um, tire tracks).
Your major and past internships weren’t an exact match to the Management Training Program job description. How did you show you were qualified?
When I interviewed, I knew I had a good GPA. I worked hard, and I was able to graduate in four years— even after changing my major. But it was my internships that really helped.
Every chance I had during my interviews, I brought up my internships and how they related to the job. I talked about my experience selling physical therapy equipment and how I loved talking to people. I also talked about my sales internship with a professor who was opening his own business. I did a bunch of cold-calling for him, presented results, and was able to show how my work directly led to his company’s success.
You applied to a lot of companies after graduation. Why did you ultimately choose Penske?
When I went in for my first few interviews, I really loved the people who worked there. I know that sometimes in the corporate world, employees don’t feel as appreciated, but what struck me in my interviews was that everyone was trying to win me over—not just the other way around. The benefits like a 401k, health insurance, and the opportunity to spend a week at Penske’s corporate headquarters after a few months at the company really stood out.
So, what do you do in your role?
I help make sure our truck-leasing business runs smoothly. Right now, there are a lot of reports to run and customers to call about getting trucks in for maintenance. I have 400 trucks to account for, and I get a lot of calls from customers with questions. It’s a lot of quick thinking to make decisions that will make the customer happy. It’s fascinating and fast-paced, and my day flies by.
Do you feel like you have a lot of career opportunities there?
Career advancement happens fast here, especially if you’re willing to relocate. I’m finishing my tenth month at Penske now, and soon I’ll become a manager and apply to higher-level roles. I want to move up in sales, and when I do I’ll get a company car, phone, computer, more benefits, and commission. There are also a bunch of different routes I can take. I can work my way up through B2B sales, consumer sales, or the service department. You don’t have to know exactly what you want to do, but if you do like sales this is a great place to be.
Any advice for someone considering the Management Training Program? How can they know if it’s the right fit?
It’s a lot of people interaction, so if you like talking on the phone and handling uncomfortable situations sometimes, it might be a fit for you. You need to be able to take on a lot of tasks and focus on more than one thing at a time. The program is a good fit for someone who wants to work in sales and operations, or has background knowledge in trucks and wants to get into the service side with mechanical work.
What would you say to people who don’t think a truck-leasing company is the right fit for them?
I was set on doing pharmaceutical sales, and I thought everything else wasn’t a good match for me. I was close-minded and skeptical at first, but there are a lot of things Penske offers that many companies don’t Definitely give it a shot and apply. Penske is a big company and a great way to make connections. Plus, a lot of people I work under have been with the company for 30 years, and that’s because they do a lot for employees.
See yourself building a career at Penske? They’re hiring now, so head over to WayUp to apply!