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Ella’s Work Placement at BMW


I’m Ella, currently in my final year studying sports business management. The course has included modules such as finance, project management, managing people in sports and career progression. Each module I have completed has provided me with new skills and further knowledge to use to progress in the future.  

I recently had the opportunity to complete my 6-week work placement with BMW UK within their retail talent management team, based at the BMW training academy in Reading. My placement experience allowed me to become a valued team member and increase my corporate experience.  


How did you apply for the placement and what was the application process? 


For me, BMW is my ‘dream’ company to work for, so I knew that I wanted to try and complete my placement with them!


As a global company, that typically only offers year-long placements, I understood the challenge of achieving this. To apply, initially, I emailed a general email address that I could find for BMW explaining my interest in completing a 6-week work placement with them. My email was then picked up and responded to by the retail talent manager who was my supervisor. There were many email exchanges and eventually a call was set up between us to discuss the placement opportunity further.  

I would say the application process took around 3 to 4 months to complete. I first emailed in March and had the work placement forms completed around 4 months later. I finally completed my placement throughout September and October this year.


What did your typical day look like? 


So a typical day for me would be in the office, starting at between 9 and 10 usually. The day would start with a quick catch-up over a hot drink with my manager where we would discuss our task list for the day and any urgent tasks that needed to be completed first. I would then sit down at my desk and start to work through my task list, often communicating with other departments and individuals as part of this. We would then pause work to have our lunch break and a catch-up. After lunch is usually when we organise our meetings, so often would be in meetings for a few hours with different departments. Once the meetings were finished, I would tie up any tasks that I had started and ensure that all the day’s deadlines were complete, ready to leave any time between 5 and 6 pm.  


My placement consisted of a hybrid working style whereby I was usually in the office 3 times a week and working from home the remaining 2 days a week. On a day when I was working from home, I would start at 9 and continue the day’s working pattern as if I were in the office. Any meeting on these days would be virtual too.


What skills or knowledge did you gain from this experience? 


This experience taught me a huge number of new skills and knowledge as well as allowing me to work on my existing knowledge and skillset.


Skills that I gained and found important include time management, organisation, prioritising tasks, producing budgets, and developing my commercial awareness.  

The skills and knowledge I have gained from my work placement have been invaluable for my future career progression and development as well as my time at university where I have since incorporated many new skills into my assignments.  


Has the placement influenced or changed your current career goals?


My work placement has increased my passion hugely for the automotive industry and has given me the focus to work within the industry post university.


This opportunity also increased my confidence with the work that I was producing and the feedback I was gaining from this which I have since embraced when applying for different graduate roles and jobs for my future career 


Before the placement, I had no knowledge of retail talent management or the opportunities of a potential career within this. However, my placement has opened my eyes to the talent management world and has since encouraged me to apply for jobs within this post university.


Was there a highlight or key accomplishment? 


A key accomplishment and highlight for me was being able to take on the role of account manager for a key supplier where I led several different initiatives and eventually launched them into the business. Many of the new initiatives were then shared within director board meetings and amongst various heads of departments and managing directors.  


Reflecting on your time there, what advice would you give fellow students? 


One piece of advice I would give to fellow students is to go into your work placements being open and willing to take on any challenges that you have the opportunity to explore.


By using this advice myself, I was able to learn new skills and knowledge, take on a huge account manager role and communicate with different key people in the business with my different tasks and findings.   


Any tips or final comments? 


One key tip would be to not get disheartened by rejection. To put it into context, I emailed over 20 companies to ask about any potential work placement opportunities before I was successful. I think it is key to use every knockback towards your next opportunity and although you might not get your ‘dream’ placement opportunity first try…


… keep pushing and putting yourself out there to achieve successful experiences and opportunities. 



Written by Ella, Sport Business Management student

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Date published

16 Jan 2024

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