Hi! I’m Anjali and I’m currently on a 3-month summer internship with Auto Trader as a Business Development Intern in Manchester. I’m studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics here at York. Although my degree doesn’t directly relate to the next steps I’m taking in my career, the transferable skills I’ve picked up across the three disciplines have supported my career journey.
Why do a summer internship?
I decided to apply for a Summer Internship for a number of reasons. Primarily, I wanted to build my experience and self-confidence in the workplace, but I also saw the benefit it would have to my future job applications.
I also wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after graduating. So a summer internship felt like the perfect opportunity to get a glimpse into a potential career before committing to a full-time role next year.
Securing the role
After struggling to secure internships in my second year of uni, I reached out to the Careers and Placements team at York and received support in the form of a careers mentor. My mentor helped me with particular issues I had with my confidence around applications, and with sourcing opportunities. During this process, she encouraged me to look into ‘Change100’, which is the internship programme that I ended up at.
I registered my interest in the internship and went through an application process that included a written application, a virtual assessment day and a Zoom interview. After this stage, I was selected as a successful candidate. Then the network began to pair me with a suitable organisation on their panel of employers, based on my application and industry/role preferences.
I accepted the match with Auto Trader for a number of reasons, including:
- ‘glassdoor’ reviews from previous employees
- the work culture (which suits my working style)
- the role they offered me in Business Development.
Since securing the role, I have been working towards three main goals: to build my experience, learn new skills, and develop my confidence.
What I do as a Business Development intern…
So, I started at Auto Trader around a month ago, and I have already learned so much. I know it’s tricky to actually envision what people actually do just from their job title, so this is what I have been up to:
I work three days in the office and two days from home. But can work quite flexibly around this depending on meetings, appointments or even if I have a parcel I need to be home for. My uniform is quite casual, and I usually go with a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, or a sweatshirt if it’s chilly.
I’m working in the ‘Retail Development Squad’, working on a few different projects linked to the ‘new car’ and ‘digital retailing’ branches of the squad. One of my big projects is linked to a recent acquisition, and I have been tasked with putting together some research and creating an information piece to share with other teams. Working on something that is going to be of genuine help to the business has been really fulfilling. Plus the support I have received from my line manager and work-mentor have really helped ease the pressure.
There have also been many opportunities to get to know other members of the team, such as post-work socials and end-of-week team-building calls. I have also had the opportunity to get involved with internal networks, which are similar to university societies. Through my involvement with the networks, I’ve been helping plan AutoTrader’s float for Manchester Pride. Since having watched the pride parades since I was 16, it’s been really cool to experience the logistics behind the process, and I’m looking forward to being a part of the parade!
What I’ve learnt so far…
I have learned so much since starting the internship just over a month ago, and it has been such a positive experience so far. I was initially quite nervous about not fitting in, and not being able to keep up with the work, but I’ve experienced the complete opposite of this.
I’ve learnt new skills in my use of Microsoft office and data inputting. As well as gaining experience in sourcing stock and communicating with suppliers when helping out with ordering items for pride. I’ve even pushed myself to do phone calls with car dealers, which I initially struggled to do.
Going from university to a 9-5 office job has been one of my biggest learning curves, and I am still getting used to waking up early for my commute into the city. However, I have enjoyed working in central Manchester and being a part of the office culture. It has really eased my nerves about starting work after I graduate.
I would recommend a summer internship to anyone, whether you want more experience, are unsure about your future career, or want to build your professional network.
For anyone starting an internship…
These are my main tips:
Organisation is key
Like many other workplaces, we use Microsoft Outlook to manage our calendars. I make the most of its integrated tools, such as the to-do list and the colour-coded tabs, which I use for emails and meetings.
The best part about being an intern is the free time I have in my calendar. While taking breaks is important (I even make sure to block out my lunch), getting stuck into projects outside of your direct line of work can help you make a good impression and gain new skills!
Reach out for help
Internships are there to help us learn new things and push us in the process, but it can get difficult when you’re starting out. I’ve found that everyone is eager to help out with anything I need, and no question is a dumb question 🙂