“Start looking as soon as possible, your dream role will not land into your lap” Vanessa Erivona at Volkswagen Financial Services #MyPlacementSoFar

My name is Vanessa Erivona and I work for Volkswagen Financial Services in Milton Keynes as a New Development Undergraduate on a placement year from DMU. Something I noticed immediately about my placement with VWFS is the amount of responsibility you are giving from the start. Your managers respect you and give you the autonomy to perform your role how you would like which shows the huge amount of trust they have in you. VWFS is a large company with over 1000 employees split between 3 offices within Milton Keynes. You often find yourself travelling between the sites which is quite exciting because the architecture within each building is tailored to Volkswagen so makes it a vibrant working environment.

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My role as the ‘New Development Undergraduate’ is a new role; I am split between the product team who help shape, monitor and develop the product portfolio that VWFS has. Each month I deliver presentations to management to update them on the external competitor environment and have the scope to make recommendations. The other side to the role is linked to the Campaign team who price vehicles for Audi, SEAT, Skoda, VW, Commercial vehicles, Porsche, Bentley and Lamborghini. My role here is to support the quarterly launch activities. My role also consists of owning the query management for Deposit Contributions across all brands made by business developments and retailers across a network of 700+. This part of the role requires 100% accuracy and attention to detail as it involves checking our payouts to ensure the right people have been paid. I am able hold meetings with colleagues at all levels; from other undergraduates to the chief commercial officer of the business.

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As my role is so new, it gives me the power to make it my own. I am gaining experience and exposure to all parts of the business which puts me in a very good position when I graduate. I am one of 28 other placement students within the company so there are always other students to socialise with who are going through the same experience as you. The welcoming you receive from VWFS is second to none! The inductions include product days where they arrange for supercars to come to the office and you get to experience being in a Lamborghini, Porsche, Ferrari and Bentley. Being an employee of the company also makes you eligible for their car scheme which means you can get a company car of either a Skoda, SEAT, VW or Audi. There is a Wellbeing Centre within the office that gives free health tests to employees e.g. checking your blood pressure.

Another thing I love about VWFS is that you can communicate with whoever you want and very senior members of staff will always give you the time of day. The amount of responsibility I have is very rewarding, there is pressure to meet expectations but if you want it badly enough then it is nothing you cannot handle. Another thing you will notice is that the culture at VWFS is very laid back. You have the support of management when you need it and everyone is a friendly face. The office is a 10-minute drive from Milton Keynes central rail station which is good for anyone who commutes into town. I was fortunate to get this placement in Milton Keynes which is where I am from so I just live at home with my family. Going from university life to full time work is a shock to the system I will admit, but your instincts kick in and you’ll easily adjust to working life. I am excited to see what the rest of the year brings.

My advice for future placement students is start looking as soon as possible, your dream role will not land into your lap, you need to put in work to get it but it will worth it in the end. Make the most of DMU’s Placement Unit in Hugh Aston; they are dedicated and so willing to help you, the advice they provide is immeasurable. Finally, if you have the opportunity to do a placement SEIZE IT – especially if it’s with Volkswagen Financial Services.

Vanessa Erivona
New Development Undergraduate at Volkswagen Financial Services



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