I was a buying intern at TJX Companies Inc. and I worked in their corporate office in Framingham Ma. In the eight weeks I was there, not one day was the same. One day, I was pulling reports, analyzing numbers, turns, and sales in order to create an optimal business strategy. Another day I was meeting with vendors who want to sell us their product. I constantly interacted with my buying team, planning and allocation, and with the product itself. We held style outs which are super fun because you get to see the products before they even hit the stores. I even got the opportunity to travel to New York for various vendor appointments such as Nautica and Perry Ellis. I was also assigned a group project with other interns with the objective of finding new business opportunity in a particular sector of a department. This required team work, analysis, competitive shopping, aspirational shopping, and creative ideas. Oh.. and of course there was lots and lots of excel.
HOW DID YOU FIND THIS OPPORTUNITY? Funny story. I actually applied online through the Isenberg Experience page and got denied within 12 hours. I was so bummed, but I attended the Corporate visit to TJX anyways as part of the Marketing Club where I met Laurie Lynch, the UMass Campus Recruiter. I told her about the application and asked her what I could do this year to improve my chances for next year. I explained my passion for the retail business, this career path and how I truly wanted this internship. She was excellent about staying in touch and keeping me posted on events that she was holding on campus. I attended every single event and also reintroduced myself at the Career Fair (despite the enormous line). A few days after the fair, I received a phone call offering me a Skype interview which is where it all started. It took persistence, but Laurie was absolutely amazing in guiding me through the process and is still a fantastic mentor to this day. Five interviews later, here I am!
WHAT HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE BEEN LIKE AND WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED? I learned the importance of building relationships with others. It is absolutely imperative to have good relationships both with your team of buyers that you work with everyday and with vendors which you do business with on a weekly basis. I learned how to analyze reports differently depending on what conclusions you want to draw. For example, you can look at product by style, by price point, by vendor etc. I learned effective ways of communicating, especially the famous “elevator speech.” The most amazing part of the internship was seeing how the analysis and product research we do comes to life in our very own stores. My favorite experience was most definitely traveling to New York and following the process from beginning to end.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER STUDENTS? My advice for other students is to be persistent. If you see an opportunity that you really want, go after it with everything you have. It’s hard and scary, but I promise it’ll be worth it. If you give it your all, you won’t have to say “I should’ve done this” or “I wish I did that.” Also, if you’re not successful the first time and you apply for a second time, they’ll recognize your interest and you’ll definitely stand out. Also, be sure to take advantage of Isenberg’s resources such as the career fair, the Experience database, or the Chase Career Center!