A week at an employer branding agency

(by Jennifer Mbunga)

Earlier this month I went on another exciting adventure. I had the opportunity to get insights into agency work in regards to employer branding. This is an area of HR that I am really interested in since it plays a significant role in talent management (the field I believe I want to work in after graduation).

For a week, I travelled into the heart of London, which was a little adventure in itself as I was commuting to and from Bank station in the center of London. Similar to New York’s Wall Street, there are loads of banks as the name indicates and was originally named after the Bank of England. The station itself has been voted “London’s least favorite station” by due to the fact it gets extremely crowded.

Despite this, I loved traveling into the city every day as the station is only a few minutes away from a nice new shopping mall with lots of restaurants and sights like St. Paul’s Cathedral – which I discovered on my first day when I got lost on the way to work.

London travel card - St. Paul’s on my way to work - Hodes logo

London travel card - St. Paul’s on my way to work - Hodes logo

During my stay at the media agency Hodes I learned:

  • What it is like to work at a startup company. Event management skills always come in handy. I was charged with getting in touch with top universities to organize an event for a law firm client.
  • Media agencies do way more than just nice/weird looking ads. I learned about the strategic side of employer branding. An employer brand boils down to a company’s reputation that reflects in every single interaction with external and internal stakeholders (business word for employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders, etc.). Blogging is one way for companies to improve and/or enhance their brand’s reach. It also drives social engagement and is an excellent recruitment tool. Furthermore, sometimes doctors write content.
  • Media agencies do make interesting creative stuff. You can make a paper wallet out of a Starbucks bag. #lifehack

I was also introduced to a social tradition called “Jolly Trolley”. Every week one employee gets 25 pounds to buy snacks and food to share. Of course, I had the honor to do so when I was there. As you can see from these pictures, Jolly Trolley is best enjoyed on the rooftop on a sunny day!

Shopping for Jolly Trolley at M&S  - Enjoying jolly trolley on the rooftop

Shopping for Jolly Trolley at M&S  - Enjoying jolly trolley on the rooftop

About the UK/London in general:

  • Law firms really do have pretty amazing office spaces. We went on a client meeting at Taylor Wessing (Enterprise’s law firm) and I felt like I was in the TV series “Suits”. High-rises enjoy a great view over the city.
  • I find British people to be very polite and proper. (Not to stereotype anyone, it has just been my personal experience.) They remind me of southern Americans. (Again, my personal experience) Here’s why: Some might say “God bless you” when you do something nice for them and, similarly to the U.S., small talk is very much welcome and expected.
  • Quirky language differences: Other things I have come to found out are that “flapjacks” in the UK are not pancakes but yummy oat bars. “Pudding” can be cheesecake as it is used synonymously with dessert and a “wet blanket” is a hater.

Challenges overcome – lessons learned

Half way through my internship, I have become more confident in my abilities to deliver quality work and no longer suffer from “Imposter Syndrome” as I did in the beginning. (It’s when you feel like you didn’t earn your place and are constantly afraid of being exposed when in reality you are rightfully where you are and can totally do the job).

Also being in a different cultural environment and working with a team that did not exist until recently has taught me to embrace change and see things from a different (positive) perspective. Working at Enterprise has helped me be less afraid of taking risks by taking ownership of things and I appreciate being able to realize my projects as I envision them. I like being more entrepreneurial and learning new things through trial and error.

First week at Enterprise Rent-A-Car

(by Jennifer Mbunga)

One day at the end of 2013, I was on Facebook looking at different multinational companies to apply to, as I was thinking about doing an internship back in Germany. This is when I first came across Blind Applying. I started filling out the application, but never completed it. At that time I was in the U.S. doing a year abroad and was thinking about leaving after a term, but I ended up staying the whole academic year (really great decision by the way!). In November 2014 I fully filled out the application for Blind Applying. There was no dreadful cover letter – I hate them-, all I had to do was give in my contact information and upload my CV.


Months went by and I completely forgot I had applied. In January, I got an email from Alex who works at Blind Applying. I was in the TOP 40 and got invited to a phone interview. This was conducted by Jessica who works at Enterprise’s headquarters in Eschborn, Germany (near Frankfurt). I was then invited to the assessment center in Eschborn as a part of the TOP 15, which was crazy in itself when you think that there were over 10k applicants in the beginning.

Long story short, at the day-long assessment I got to meet 5 other candidates, the Human Resources (HR) Team from Frankfurt as well as Matt, the European Talent Acquisition Manager from the headquarters (HQ) in Egham, England, who I am now reporting to.

A week or so later we all got feedback and I got a call from Matt. He delivered the news to me like this: “As you may know I have a bit of bad news for you.” (He paused and my heart sank!), “You are going to have to tell your friends and family that you will be spending three months in the UK!”

Fast forward to now – My Internship in May 2015

My first day at Enterprise Rent-A-Car was a Tuesday, May 5 – internally called the Enterprise anniversary, which is a tradition celebrating every employee’s anniversaries with the firm by giving them a card and having a “cake day”.

The office space here at the corporate HQ is new and really modern. Enterprise moved in here in March 2014, so the atmosphere is warm and welcoming at least for someone like me who likes interior design. Working at HQ can get quite hectic as everybody here is really busy. Luckily, Matt introduced me to my coworkers and showed me around. What I liked is that I can bring my own devices so I can use my iPad and apps at work. I was also given a quick tour of the city and Matt took me out to one of my favorite restaurants for lunch, which was very kind.

What I do during my internship

On my second day, I attended a Media Day taking place at our media agency Bernard HODES. As my internship revolves around HR Brand Development for Enterprise’s “new” markets in Germany, France and Spain a lot of my tasks have to do with employer branding – which is similar to consumer branding but aims at getting people to want to work for you as opposed to buying your products.

On Media Day, different companies came to pitch their ideas on how they would be able to help Enterprise reach its recruiting goals. The office’s balcony had the best view on landmarks like St. Paul’s Cathedral, the London Eye and the Shard. Another bonus was the different gifts and goodies the companies brought, like macaroons, chocolate and stationery stuff. Lunch was also on the house.

The following day, we attended a panel discussion about “The Evolution of Candidate Attraction”. In case you are wondering, breakfast was served there too and it was pretty good (big foodie here ;) ).

After heading to the media agency once again, I got an idea of what type of work they do for Enterprise and how companies develop Employer Branding strategies. I am going to be spending a week with them in June and I’m looking forward to that.

It’s not all work though

Even if it was my first week, a lot of emails were waiting for me already. One of them was for the company party at Thorpe Park – an amusement park- next month. I am really excited to go!

So far I truly enjoy the prospects of moving around a lot and learning different aspects of HR brand development. Working in such a big company can be quite intimidating. I tend to be shy when I am placed in a new setting so I am still trying to find my place and look forward to connecting with my coworkers even more as time goes by. Come back to read more about my adventures in the beginning of June.