Trading in my college backpack for a business briefcase... or a fancy leather tote, in my case.
(by Jennifer Mbunga)
Gone are the days when I could just contemplate sleeping in instead of going to class (not that I ever actually skipped class ;) ) or just throw on leggings and sweats. In the corporate world people wear slacks and suits. The only challenge here is finding the right clothing for the weather, which can be rather flaky. It can go from bright sunshine to thunderstorm in a matter of hours.
The dress code here at the Enterprise Rent-A-Car is similar to one you would find at a German DAX 30 company. It is western business attire, so it is very professional. That works well for me because my wardrobe is something like 50 shades of black and I went to business school, so I did not have to buy a whole new wardrobe.
My first days at the corporate headquarters were also similar to my first day at university. I barely knew anyone and I wasn’t quite sure how to behave. I learned that smiling at people and greeting them when you cross paths works better than #restingface.
Even though the corporate environment can be quite intimidating, it is imperative to network and talk to people. At Enterprise, the hierarchies are pretty flat and you can just chat with the VP when you see him in the kitchen.I have learned that just being nice and saying hello is a good way to network which then leads to great business conversations.
After a busy first week in and out of the office, I decided to venture into the big canteen downstairs. The first time around I took my iPad as I was nervous to interact with anyone. However, I was quickly introduced to another intern, and asked her if she wanted to go out for lunch sometime. We did and she then introduced me to other interns, which led to all of us going out to eat and have drinks on a Friday afternoon.
So far during my time at Enterprise I have had a variety of exposure to the social side of working at a large global company: eating lunch with my boss (which wasn’t as scary as one would think), having mocktails (virgin cocktails) with my coworkers at a diversity event or doing a meet and greet with managers. The latter was a really fun experience and taught me that even managers get intimidated by new environments.
One of my supervisors gave me a fun task this week. He made me read the book “Who Moved my Cheese”, which is about coping with change. The key lesson is that life’s adventures begin outside of your comfort zone.
Another difference is that new things may come up during the day that force you to prioritize in order to meet the new deadline. This is why I find it so useful to always carry a notebook with me or write things down digitally, because I always have my cell phone or tablet with me anyway. One of my other supervisors was kind enough to give me this beautiful Leuchtturm notebook (it’s made in Germany <3) so I can write down all the important things I come across every day.
I am currently working on a variety of projects I am really excited about all the travel I get to do as a part of my internship. The next week I will be working at our media agency downtown London, right next to St. Paul’s Cathedral and then a few weeks later I will be flying to Frankfurt to spend a week at our German headquarters.