Every year, students in the Merchandising and Consumer Sciences Program immerse themselves in a variety of fashion and retail businesses to learn beyond the classroom. These internships are required for their degree at The University of Texas at Austin.
We checked in with five TXA undergraduates about their experience during the required semester-long internship. Many spoke about 'aha' moments that make internships so valuable to future careers.
Christen Young is interning with Fossil Group:
I collaborated with the merchandising, marketing, product development and design teams to put together three look-books that best represented the brand image and most importantly, the products.
I feel as if I accomplished a significant task considering my lack of experience with InDesign, limited exposure to the brand, moderate exposure to the products and the crunching deadline of one week. Seeing all of this hard work come together as the look-books are finally sent off to the printing press has definitely been rewarding. I can't imagine how rewarding it will feel once products are placed on order!
Carley Naquin is interning with Sherri Hill:
My biggest 'aha' moment, since I have been interning at Sherri Hill this spring, happened after a one-on-one meeting with the new tech lead for the technology team. I expressed to him that I had an interest in becoming a Digital Product Manager in the future. He then asked me to come up with a digital product that Sherri Hill needs but does not have yet.
Sitting down and thinking through all of the aspects of the product really made me understand what a Digital Product Manager's job is. Luckily, I really enjoyed the critical thinking of this process, and I have not changed my mind about the position I aspire to obtain.
Hunter Wuensche is interning with Rebecca Minkoff:
I loved my time with Rebecca Minkoff. In my time there, I was responsible of sending out samples, organizing the PR sample closet, maintaining various spreadsheets, and other various tasks.
My biggest 'aha' moment was when we began to analyze sales compared to the product that influencers posted on social media and blogs and found correlations between high sales and that product. It was incredible to see how my work in sending out product to bloggers and influencers made an impact in sales. I learned how vital everything I was doing for the company was in its success.
Sheena Suni Corwin is interning with Indigo Garments:
During my internship with Indigo Garments, I spent a lot of my time storing all of their inventory in their at-home garage. Indigo Garments is a start-up company so there was a lot for me to learn about the business.
My biggest 'aha' moment as an intern for them was realizing how things will go wrong but you have to resolve them as soon as possible so they don't become a larger problem. Being an entrepreneur and being your own boss is romanticized in 2017 because it seems like everyone is doing it therefore it is easier than working under someone. What I learned is that, a lot of times, you are left with everything and it's your own responsibility when things fail. I learned that problems can happen at any moment in a start-up and it is best to keep a level head and stay calm to work efficiently through these types of issues.
Marissa Adams is interning with Gap, Inc:
My biggest 'aha' moment happened during week five of the internship. There are about 15-20 Gap Inc. interns all over the U.S., and, as part of our internship, we were put into groups to work on our first project to design a hiring strategy for the 2017 Holiday season. Some of the group members were all the way on the other side of the country and I would never meet in them person, yet we still had to present the project to a group of corporate members via a conference call.
This taught me how vital communication is!