Lexus student placements: Tobie’s story

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Full name: Tobie Bowdler

Year of graduation: 2015

Business departments worked in:  Lexus Marketing, Lexus Product, Toyota Aftersales (business planning and customer retention), LFS occasionally, the Academy

Length of placement: Two years

Lexus blog: Hi Tobie, tell us a bit about your role within Lexus

Tobie Bowdler: I work in Lexus aftersales, and report to the national manager for Lexus Care, and so I deal with everything under this banner, such as the Lexus customer experience programme, aftersales marketing, and a range of varied project work. Some of the projects I have worked on include planning and preparing for National Centre Network Meetings.

In addition, I work closely with our centre network by providing guidance, support and materials. I also support the Lexus Care field team with a range of aspects including admin, reporting and operational tasks, and if our centres can’t get hold of their field contact, they often contact me in the office and I try to help out with whatever their query may be.

Furthermore, I am responsible for a range of reporting on our key performance indicators (KPIs) for Sales, Lexus Care and Centre performance.

It’s a really varied role. I’m out of the office at least once a month for a couple of days, whether it’s for a field team meeting or centre visits.

LB: What projects have you been working on?

TB: I have been working on a project to refresh all of the Lexus Care marketing materials, most recently the welcome brochure which provides an overview of everything we offer under the Lexus Care banner. It has been a good opportunity to ensure that we have consistent branding across all documents, as they all used to be every different and sometimes very old.

LB: What have you learnt during your time at Lexus?

TB: One of the most important things which I have learnt is the importance of task and time management. It’s not uncommon for me to have back-to-back meetings on completely different topics, so I have to be flexible and able to remember the latest status of each project so that I can switch from one to the other without too much disruption. I’ve also learnt about the complexity of managing multiple projects at once.

LB: How do you think you have changed during your time at Lexus?

TB: My knowledge has developed considerably in how to behave in a corporate environment; at university, you get the theory, but this really gives you the chance to put it into practice.

I’ve really learnt about communications and teamwork; I now communicate better with colleagues and am more confident meeting new people. I’m also more comfortable in challenging ideas and decisions appropriately, even if it’s a senior manager who is expressing the original idea.

LB: What has surprised you most about your placement?

TB: I didn’t expect to be as busy as I am! I thought I’d have just enough to do, but there is always plenty to do. I am also surprised by how the people act – in a good way! Everyone is very friendly here.

LB: Would you do your placement again?

TB: Yes

LB: What advise would you give to someone who may be considering a placement with Lexus?

TB:  I’d say, don’t expect that you’ll be doing the same as other students; every role is different depending on where it sits in the organisation. There’s no set ‘student job’ so you will be involved in different things to the other students who start with you.

I recommend getting to know the company structure as soon as possible; this gives you a good understanding of what the different levels mean, both company-wide and also to you personally!

Where next?

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