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Enterprise offers students opportunities

by Mohammed Faisal, staff writer

Getting a job upon graduation is of primary importance to every HPU student. One looks for something that not only pays the bills, but that also provides real-life work experience. Enterprise Rent-a-Car hires more than 6,000 college graduates a year around the country. It also provides opportunities to different business majors through internships that can lead to management trainee positions upon graduation.


Jack Taylor founded Enterprise Rent-a-Car in 1957 in St. Louis, Missouri. Originally known as Executive Leasing, it provided automobile leasing facilities to customers. By 1962, it started providing auto rental services catering to customers whose cars were in the shop for repair. The company expanded beyond St. Louis and changed its name officially to Enterprise in 1969. It avoided the rest of the auto rental industry which was concentrating on airport travelers. Instead it concentrated on hometown travelers who needed replacement cars. In 1972, Enterprise started its revolutionary free pickup service: it would send a car to pickup customers at their homes and bring them to the nearest Enterprise office, it would return them to their homes after they returned the rental car.
Today, Enterprise Rent-a-Car is the largest car rental company in North America. It has more than 600,000 vehicles in its fleet, and more than 5,000 locations in five countries including the United States, Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom. It has more than 50,000 employees and an annual revenue of $6 billion. It caters to home-city markets where there is a large demand for replacement cars by insurance companies, automobile manufacturers, service centers, and consumers who need cars for business and pleasure.
Enterprise makes a number of internships available, every year, to local students, and HPU’s business students take advantage of the opportunity. Working at Enterprise, one gains valuable and highly marketable skills in every aspect of business management.
At the entry-level position of management trainee, one learns salesmanship, marketing, and accounting, and develops a team approach to customer service. Customer service is of prime importance to Enterprise. Employees are taught to effectively communicate, influence, and interact with all types of customers, vendors, and co-workers. Problem solving, conflict management, and effective sales techniques are emphasized. The goal is to provide enough training so that one could eventually run a business—presumably an independent Enterprise location.
Promotions at Enterprise are based upon performance and not on seniority. Individuals can find themselves moving up in the company and sharing company profits once they reach the assistant manager position. Yvette Siew, a communication PR major, originally from Taiwan, has found this kind of success at Enterprise. Graduating in spring 2001, she joined Enterprise in May as a management trainee. Working at the Ala Moana branch, she moved up to assistant manager in just 10 months. In April 2003, she was promoted to recruiting coordinator for the state of Hawai‘i. This is an extraordinary achievement in two years, proving that HPU trains its graduates well, and that Enterprise really does promote according to performance not seniority.

“Working at Enterprise is like running your own little business,” said Siew. “One learns to keep to keep track of employees, build rapport with the local community, and offer good customer service at an individual basis.”

“It also helps market yourself,” she added. Siew is currently doing her MBA in international business at HPU, and she is a big supporter of the school. “We have a good relationship with the Career Services Center, TIM school, local clubs, and the scholarship office. We have found students hired from HPU as interns and management trainees to be enthusiastic and hard working,” Siew said.
Enterprise lets its employees be flexible about their career path. Julie Blake, an HPU accounting graduate (February 2003), joined the Enterprise administration office as an accounts payable clerk after working for a few months at one of the local branches.
“Enterprise is helping me learn all aspects of business, especially accounting. HPU’s diversity helped me deal with all kinds of customers,” she said. “It has a very good business school with professors experienced with Hawai‘i’s business environment.”
Blake is planning to return to HPU for her MBA degree. “I want to move up in the company, travel, and meet new people. Enterprise is letting me do just that!”
HPU and Enterprise have, for many years, worked together to provide students with opportunities, according to Lianne Maeda, director of HPU’s Career Services Center. “We have had a positive relationship with Enterprise for a long time,” said Maeda. “They run an excellent recruiting program and have been very interested and responsive in hiring HPU students. It depends on the students to fully benefit from this company.


2003, Kalamalama, the HPU Student Newspaper. All rights reserved.
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