Student perspectives

Věra Herčuthová - My internship at Bentley Motors Limited

3/12/2019

I was already thinking about the foreign internship within ERASMUS+ programme when I have visited SKODA AUTO University for the first time during the Opening day in January 2016 and saw all the possibilities. It was one of the benefits that made me decide to start my studies in Mladá Boleslav.

Later, in October 2017, I applied for the internship at Bentley Motors Ltd. and went through the interview with two guys from the Purchase Department. I was so nervous! I wasn`t sure if I am the one that Bentley is looking for, and moreover, I knew, that my English isn’t very good. However, both English men were very nice to me and it seemed that I’ve made a good impression.

Nevertheless, it was such a big surprise for me when I received an e-mail from the International Office that I was chosen for a half year internship at Bentley. The best Christmas present – as it came in the end of December.

I contacted people who spent some time in Crewe, the home of Bentley Motors before and collected some information. I booked the flight, arranged accommodation, get travel insurance, signed all the documents needed – and I was prepared to go.

Well, maybe not so prepared. To be honest, I experienced lots of sleepless nights before leaving the Czech Republic, having a plenty of questions. What will I do there with my horrible English? Will I be good worker? And what about my colleagues? I was quite frightened of everything.

The real adventure started on 11th of August 2018. It was a very first flight in my life – one more thing to worry about. And it didn’t go very well. It was delayed for almost three hours so I spent ages on the airport. There were also some complications with getting from Manchester Airport to Crewe and finally I had to go to Bentley Security to pick up the keys from my new home as nobody was there at that time. To sum it up, I got to bed totally exhausted at 2 a.m., leaving home at about 7 a.m. previous day.

My first working day was 13th of August. I met all the new interns in front of the Bentley reception and after a short meeting with a guy from HR department we were introduced to our new teams. I got a job in New Projects team which deals with projects of both current and new models and manage the changes on them. I realised that I assist to Bob Humphries, one of men from interviews. 

During next two and half weeks the previous intern stayed with me and taught me everything needed to start work on my own. However, I was learning every single day during the whole internship, especially new words and also how all the processes at the Purchase Department work.

Supporting the change management consisted of several activities. In the morning I prepared an agenda for Flow Cell meeting where all the proposed changes were discussed in terms of costs. After printing out the paperwork Bob went through the changes with me to understand what was going to be changed and why and to estimate possible costs. At 10 o'clock the Continental meeting started. Firstly, a guy from engineering presented a new change to explain what the problem was and how it could be fixed. After that workers from finance, purchase (Bob with me), change management and module leaders were discussing older proposed changes – what the costs are and if it is worth. At 11 o'clock another Flow Cell meeting started, like the previous one but concentrating on Bentayga cars.

After lunch new changes went through the system and I could fill the proformas and distributed it to buyers. Their task was to contact suppliers, ask them for costs for the new changes (including some negotiation) and then come back to me with the information about prices. I submitted all the details in the computer system, and it could be discussed at the next meeting (if it met Finance Department's estimation).

Nevertheless, that is not all! Every Monday I had to make three different excel reports to inform those who were concerned, how many changes were currently being processed by buyers and which of them need further revision, and every Friday some sorting of documents had to be done.

But my stay wasn't just about work. During the weekends I travelled a bit to see different parts of the United Kingdom. In the first weeks there I visited historical Chester or industrial Manchester, both near Crewe. I fell in love with beautiful Liverpool, also not far from my English hometown. The city is simply wonderful – the Albert Docks, all the historical buildings on the seaside, Beatles story museum, galleries with various types of art and shopping possibilities, too. I visited it many times – also before Christmas to see the Christmas market. I did some longer trips to London, the capital of the United Kingdom, beautiful seaside resort Brighton or Welsh Llandudno with breath-taking views from Great Orme. At the end of my internship my friend came to visit with me Edinburgh and Glasgow. Scotland is such a picturesque country!

And what's more, the weather was almost always so nice. I wouldn't expect so many sunny days in Great Britain as it is known for frequent rains and fogs. To sum it up, I spent in England quite nice time. I liked my work and my colleagues, I enjoyed some travelling on my own as well as with friends or family during their visits and I learnt lots of new.

On the other hand, I hoped to improve my English much more than it really happened. But despite the language barrier I was still able to work and live there – and this is the main thing for me. Nobody can understand everything, you know. (Anyway, do you know what the beautiful English words “camshaft” or “crankcase” mean? I do, I do!) I

I would recommend all the students to take the opportunity and spent some time abroad. It is really good experience and the best way how to improve a foreign language (at least a bit) and meet lots of interesting people. Thank you all for the greatest adventure of my life so far!