England calling

GruppenbildTuesday 26th July 2011,  6 p. m.  – Airport Stuttgart: Five apprentices of the Daimler Headquarters were ready for take-off for a three-week internship at Mercedes-Benz UK in Milton Keynes. A great time we would like to share with you:

Our first adventure – the flight! With an old propeller aircraft – really exciting and even terrifying. However, we made it somehow to Birmingham. Around midnight, all of us were glad to arrive at our host families safely, but quite tired. Three of us interns had host families in the greater area of Milton Keynes. Two lived next to Bedford, which was about 30 minutes away from Milton Keynes.

Each of us was allocated to another department to work with, during our three-week internship. The departments were Customer Services, Corporate Real Estate, Human Resources, Logistics and Finance.

The city of Milton Keynes was built in the 1960s and is one of the so called “New Towns” in the UK. It has approximately 250.000 inhabitants right now and is still growing. Milton Keynes was built for people to relocate them from the center of London to the outer conurbation area. Furthermore its streets are arranged like a grid and instead of crossings they are connected with lots of roundabouts. You can hardly find any traffic lights there. Furthermore, Milton Keynes has a great offer for free time activities. It has the longest (720 m) shopping mall and the biggest indoor ski dome of Europe, as well as the so called “National Bowl” were lots of open air concerts take place.

Mercedes GPWe also went to Oxford and Cambridge for a day to visit the famous university buildings and to do a boat tour (called “punting”), which is really popular around there. On top of that, we spent one weekend in London, including a sight-seeing bus tour, meeting lots of celebrities at Madame Tussauds and a boat tour on the River Thames.

Organized by MBUK, we visited MB World in Brooklands, including a guided tour and the highlight – a 20-minute driving-experience for each of us in a Mercedes C63 AMG on a small test- and racetrack. We also went to Brackley to visit the Formula 1 team Mercedes Grand Prix Petronas. 

Cultural and general differences

People in England are really friendly and talkative.  At MBUK we enjoyed the very good working atmosphere and felt very comfortable. The colleagues and even the management work on first name basis what we all really liked. Another difference to our employment at Daimler in Germany is that the employees can’t build up overtime like we do. They just have to finish their work in time. No matter, whether they stay in the office for 8 or 10 hours a day. Furthermore, we experienced a different dress code:  In England people don’t wear jeans for work like we used to. In the offices they are usually dressed very businesslike. Only in Logistics the dress code is more casual, due to their jobs.

LondonAnother interesting fact is that they have air condition everywhere, even though it’s often cold and rainy outside. You usually have to wear a long sleeved shirts or a blazer because it’s really cold in the office. The food in England wasn’t as bad as expected.

Unfortunately, those three really interesting, exciting and fantastic weeks went by too fast and on the 16th August we had to return with the really scary propeller aircraft to Stuttgart.

Looking back to those three weeks we spent in Milton Keynes, we can definitely say that this was the best time we had during our apprenticeships so far. It was good to get to know the differences and of course the similarities between Germans and English’, not only at work, but also by living in a British host family.

We improved our business English and learned a lot about the English working culture and the MBUK. It was very interesting to see how the company and its employees are working abroad. It’s such a shame, that only five interns per year have the possibility to go abroad because this is an experience you’ll never forget and I think it’s a great chance to broaden your knowledge of the company, your language skills and of course yourself.