Burger King scouts Oxford students for grad scheme

Fast food chain Burger King is targeting Oxford students for its graduate scheme for the first time.

Its highly competitive Management Trainee Programme for Europe, the Middle East and Africa has opened to applications. Looking for “the best talent” to fulfil each of the twenty places on the programme, the fast-food chain claims to be looking for “the next generation of transformational leaders”.

The firm’s leaders plan on visiting four UK universities – Cambridge, Lancaster, London Business School and Oxford – as well as universities in countries like Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland.

They aim to recruit 20 students for the scheme.

Jose Cil, current President of Burger King in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, claims that the programme will allow graduates to “achieve their personal best in a thriving business environment,” and will find students with a “passion for our business”.

Graduates who enrol in the scheme will face a variety of different environments to assess their competence. They will shadow Senior Managers of Burger King, and spend three months at one of the corporate office headquarters in London or one of three European locations – Madrid, Munich or Zug in Switzerland.

Following this, the trainees will receive the opportunity to work in a Burger King restaurant, although the exact location of these restaurants are currently undisclosed. The last six months of the programme see trainees immersed in a “designated area” of the company.

Some Oxford students could not fully understand the scheme, and questioned why they were being targeted over other universities. A Somerville Medicine student wondered: “Why would I work for Burger King when I’ll be getting a medical degree?”, whilst a Biology student felt that aiming the scheme at Oxford students allowed an “unfair saturation” of the job market.

Lizzy Mansfield, a Philosophy student at Somerville, was less disparaging. “I think it’s funny, purely because it’s Burger King – if it was a law firm, people are more accepting, but Burger King has more of a stigma about it generally.” A Law student expressed interest in the scheme, but had clear priorities: “Do they do a staff discount? I’d like that, then I’d feel really immersed in their culture”.

The selection process itself will put applicants through their paces – compulsory online tests in logic and English skills are set to be included, as well as an opportunity to show that they are able to align with what the firm describes as “ethos and culture” of Burger King.

Oxford graduates who are successful in the scheme will be granted an audience with the company’s directors and could face an interview with the company’s CEO if they get a final interview.

The scheme has a high success rate. 80 per cent of those recruited in 2013 are now working in permanent roles for the firm, which has an estimated 1,400 branches across the nation.

The trainees become part of a workforce of over 25,000. Burger King EMEA is visiting the targeted universities over the next few months, until 6th April, and may be attending careers fairs.