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NuView Blog

Filtering by Tag: internship

CAREERS: FOSSIL INTERN PROFILE

Maia Wilson

Founded in 1984, Fossil originally opened its doors to the public as an accessories store. Now, the company offers a range of women and men’s appeal, exclusive watch collections, accessories and footwear. Fossil represents authentic American culture, innovation, creativity, and optimism. Both a company and brand, Fossil is the pioneer when it comes to American vintage products. By designing watches and accessories for brands such as Michael Kors and Tory Burch, they have extended their creativity to represent something greater.

Being a prestige company, Fossil's corporate leaders are selective in who they choose as interns. With elevated expectations and a high GPA requirement, the company only selects the best. This weekend I had the privilege to interview UNT student, Marcy Plefka, one of the few Summer 2015 Product Development interns. Together, we discussed what it took for her to become and excel as a Fossil intern.

Marcy with Summer 15' Product Development interns

Marcy with Summer 15' Product Development interns

Name: Marcy Plefka

Hometown: Hurst, Texas

Major(s): Merchandising and Digital Retail

Introduce Yourself:

My name is Marcy Plefka, and I am a double Major in Merchandising and Digital Retailing at the University of North Texas. I interned with Fossil in their men’s watch product development team, so I was the fossil men’s watch product development intern.

How did you find the Internship?

[I first heard about the Fossil] internships when I went on the[Dallas] study tour with Mr. Last. We visited Fossil and I [remember] thinking, “Hey I would like to work here.” I heard the internship was difficult to get but I was up for the challenge. I was fortunate enough to get the internship after applying and I started the job soon after. There were not many positions in the DFW area for product development jobs so that’s why I applied.

How was your internship structured? What were your day to day duties?

We got an intern road map on day one. It [the road map] explained to us how we were to interact with our mentors, our duties and schedules. We had stakeholder meeting which set [us] up with different people in different areas of the companies.... Just to see what they did and how [their jobs] related to product development. [As an intern] I picked up samples, tracked them, learned how to price everything, and pulled selling reports. I also got to work on look books for men’s and women’s styles. I got an inside look as to how [a product design] got from [the designer's] brain to the stores.

Marcy's desk at the Fossil corporate offices

Marcy's desk at the Fossil corporate offices

Would you say the internship was fast paced, and were you taught along the way? If so, did the learning process ever make you feel overwhelmed? 

I actually came on a “LIP week” which is when we [established the season's styles]. This was probably the most inconvenient time to come in. Our mentors were really stressed out, and they didn’t have time at the moment to show me the ropes. But, luckily it was a 14-week internship so I got to see the production stages repeat themselves. [In other words] I got to see the different orders [for the] different seasons. At first it was a little bit overwhelming, but I ended up being able to connect all the dots. I wouldn’t say that it was fast paced. I just had to get the hang of it. Though, there [was] always [the chance that] something could happened or change. Say a client like Nordstrom wanted one of our watch designs, but they wanted it custom tailored so only Nordstrom could have it. [That could] add stress to our design team and make everyone move and change faster.

What was the company culture like at Fossil? Was it relaxed or more professional?

[The culture] was absolutely relaxed. The amenities that Fossil offers their employees were really cool. We would have "Re-Charge Wednesdays" which was like happy-hour with coffee. The dress code wasn’t strict. You could wear ripped jeans to work or sandals and t-shirts... you just [had to] look presentable. I always felt comfortable talking to everyone and I felt like I could always connect with anyone if I needed to.

What would you say is the most valuable piece of information you learned during your internship? What did you learn that you'll be able to take with you throughout your merchandising career?

The most valuable thing [I learned] would be just knowing when to communicate and how to communicate. Since everyone is always doing a thousand things at once, it’s good to check in with your boss or your co-workers and let them know that you’re doing your job. That's what my manger liked about me the most. I always checked in with her even without her asking [me to], just so she knew I was on [the task and] had it covered. Sometimes people get so busy and forget that they gave you a job to do, so it’s good to check in and reassure them that the task has gotten done. What I will take with me throughout my merchandising career is curiosity - always asking questions and doing something that’s a little out of [my] comfort zone. That’s something that I will forever push for and keep doing throughout my career.

Interested in pursuing a Product Development internship at Fossil? Check out https://www.fossilgroup.com/  and click on Careers for more information.


CREDITS

Copy: Amani Wells-Onyioha, Careers Writer

Photos c/o Marcy Plefka

Graphic 1: Ashley Nudge, Editor-in-Chief

CAREERS: RAW DALLAS SHOWCASE DIRECTOR PROFILE

Maia Wilson

In 2009, the founders had a vision, a vision to connect all artistic individuals within every community, city, and town… a vision where no boarders separated those with talent, and no boundaries existed to keep them from joining together in their creative diversity. RAW: Natural Born Artists, is a networking community that hosts events in over 60 cities across the globe. By creating a platform for the filmmaker, the designer, the painter, the photographer, and the musician, they bring the arts to people, and people to the arts. The artists and guests involved have the opportunity to connect, to appreciate, to hear, and to love. They are young, creative, and passionate optimists who are bold enough to inspire and impact the world though art. They are RAW.

This week I had the privilege to sit down and interview Sarah Badran, a UNT alumn and the RAW Dallas showcase director, at Café Brazil in Deep Ellum, Dallas. Originally born in the Philippines, Sarah moved to Texas when she was 8 years old. From an early age, Sarah was able to identify her passion for art and entertainment. Due to her experiences working in restaurants, various hotels, and at a music label, Sarah gained valuable people-skills that proved to be beneficial as a young professional. In 2012, Sarah brought RAW to Dallas. A competitive, strategic, and self-made businesswoman, Sarah has successfully grown RAW Dallas as the result of her admirably strong work ethic. 

Philly and Sarah NuView Photos 388.JPG

Name:  Sarah Badran

Job Title: Dallas Showcase Director

Hometown: Born in the Philippines  

University and Major(s): The University of North Texas – Public Relations

Minor: Marketing

Photo: Marcus Lopez Photography  

Photo: Marcus Lopez Photography  

What is RAW in your own words?

RAW is currently the world’s largest independent arts organization that focuses on indie artists within the first 10 years of their careers. We are a platform that provides artists with resources, opportunities, networking, and exposure. It’s really an opportunity to build community within each city and give local artists a voice.

Based out of California, RAW: Natural Born Artist, has been up and running for six years now. With a show every other month (six annually), RAW Dallas typically showcases about 40-50 new artists in each show, with hopes of spotlighting fresh creativity.

How did you land a job as a Fashion Showcase Director for RAW?

It’s really funny when I tell people this story, because sometimes they don’t believe me or they think it’s really crazy. But, [the job] was a post on Craigslist that I found. Initially, it sounded like a fake position. The authors of the post were looking for an art director in the city who’d be willing to work with different types of artists, and specified that he or she would make money by hosting different events. At first I was like, “Really?” And when I applied, I heard back almost instantly, which made me question the job even more. But what happened was, RAW had almost given up on launching the shows in Dallas. They had interviewed over 150 people for the position, yet they couldn’t find anybody [suitable]. The day I applied was the last day they where going to look for someone in the city. The process literally happened so fast that the next day I had a Skype interview with the CEO based in LA. After a week or so, I was flown to LA to train and see what RAW was all about [in terms of] the planning and execution of the show. I was so excited to bring the show back here because I knew Dallas wasn’t ready for the bomb I was about to drop on them.

Interviewer Takeaways:

RAW was something that Sarah had dreamt of, and spoke into existence. At only 24 years old, a few months before seeing the job posting online, she was driving the streets of Galveston when she thought to herself, “Why aren’t there enough events at which I can meet different artists?” And soon enough, everything happened as it did. Quite possibly, she was destined for this.

Photo: Marcus Lopez Photography

Photo: Marcus Lopez Photography

What do you like to do in your free time?

I enjoy being anywhere I can channel music, dance, or hangout with friends. I honestly don’t like to play around a lot. For example, I like to work during my days off.  Luckily, what I do is so fun. I get to go to fashion shows which I consider work and play.

Interviewer Takeaways:

Sarah likes to stay active. Recently she’s traveled to LA, New Orleans, and Atlanta. She explained to me that she loves to explore different arts within each unique city. Although music is her first passion, Sarah also enjoys watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians and engaging in social media.

What would you say distinguishes you from others?

Interviewer Takeaways:

To stand out, you have to be bold and unafraid of things. Having curiosity, a strategic mind, and passion will distinguish you from others. Sarah never gets content with what she does, and that’s what keeps her going in the industry. She is always looking for ways to improve and grow.

Tokened as the most connected woman in the city, Sarah said that her relationships didn’t happen overnight. She explained how in the first year of her career, she had to take initiative to attend different events, converse with people, search for people, and identify the movers and shakers in order to really build those organic relationships that would enable her to have a successful show.

Tell us about your first year after graduation, and how did it feel?

[Getting settled after graduation] has been a long, drawn-out process for me. I didn’t graduate until last year. But that was only because I was going back and forth every other year from school to work. I worked throughout my whole college career, which allowed me to pay my way. I believe that everyone has their own journey, and doing it the way I did - working while getting an education - helped me refine the knowledge that I was getting in school. It helped me appreciate and use my knowledge more effectively.

Interviewer Takeaways:

Sarah explained to me that she is far from home. With a mother in the Philippines and a father in Egypt, she didn’t really have anyone in the city to rely on for help, which forced her to be more independent. At the age of 24, she became a self-made businesswoman by launching RAW Dallas.

Philly and Sarah NuView Photos 337.JPG

How many shows do you have a year? How do you believe RAW helps rising artists?

We have 6 shows a year, and RAW provides a platform for artists to build organic relationships. It’s a way of networking, and a way to experience real-life art and real fans. I always try to go above and beyond for my artists, so I’ll invite A-list personnel to come and network, as well as secure media placement throughout the show.

What kind of artists do you look for when you’re developing a show?

I look for individual artists who will fit the theme of the show, and having a big line up in music is very important. For example, one rock artist, one pop artist, one hip-hop artist, maybe an R&B singer, will give me a wide range of music. With music, you need to have that “star” quality, and it’s definitely one of the most competitive slots in the show considering the fact that I can only put five music artists in a show (30 total in a year). As far as performing artists go, we are always looking for someone who’s really interesting, someone who will excite the crowd, and someone who will be visually engaging. I always try to make my shows very cultural and diverse.

How do you like living in the city of Dallas, and what are some of the pros and cons in terms of your job and personal life?

Interviewer Takeaways:

In the beginning of Sarah’s career, nothing was happening, and she was discouraged to the point that she wanted to move away. But in order to be successful, Sarah knew she had to be smart, strategic, and adaptable. Although she didn’t profit much from the first show, she was excited to seek out all of the opportunities the city had to offer. She described Dallas as a “big, small city”, because everyone knew each other despite the population. One of the cons about the city is “the system that [goes] against new growth”. She explained how Dallas has its group of “mean girls” who don’t endorse change. Yet, as an urban minority organization, she is determined to break down every door of adversity until she reaches her dreams.

What is your most favorite and least favorite part about your job?

I think the answer to both is working with artists.

Interviewer Takeaways:

Sarah enjoys seeing crowds, and being able to experience and support new artists. She loves the gratitude and appreciation she gets from the artists at the end of each show. On the other hand, one of her least favorite aspects of the job is the times when she has to “babysit” artists. According to Sarah, “one of the biggest [obstacles] that hold back artists in Dallas is their expectation of things to be handed to them. They don’t have a built-in work ethic.” She also dislikes when artists flake-out and waste valuable time. Regardless of the situation, “the show must go on”.

Tell me about one of your greatest accomplishments during your time as a Show Producer.  

The general catalyst effect in the engagement growth… and the number of women contacting me to tell me that I’m an inspiration, are my greatest accomplishments. Also, the fact that Dallas ranks number three in the list of most popular RAW shows internationally is amazing. Now it seems that the number one spot (currently occupied by Los Angeles) is more attainable  

Does RAW Dallas offer internships? If so, where can students get more information?

View flyer!

When I’m looking for an intern, I am looking for someone who is passionate about art and the city. I want someone who is knowledgeable about industry, someone who is a hard-worker regardless of the pay, and someone who can adapt quickly.

Can you share three tips for students who are perusing a career in the industry? 

  1. Be BOLD. Starting something from scratch wasn’t easy. In order to be successful, you need to put yourself out there, and let people know what you are about.
  2. Change your perspective. A lot of people normally focus on the negative. But if you change your perspective, it will do you wonders. Don’t let little problems get in the way of your success, and persevere through everything. Always stay positive.
  3. Follow your dreams. Never stop following your dreams.

Want to learn more about RAW Dallas?

RAW Dallas: http://www.rawartists.org/dallas

Instagram:  https://instagram.com/rawdallas

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rawnaturalbornartists?pnref=lhc

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rawdallas

CREDITS

Copy & Photography: Fernando Zamarripa, NuView Careers Editor

Graphic 1: Ashley Nudge, Editor-In-Chief

FASHION: DRESS FOR SUCCESS IN ANY PROFESSIONAL SETTING

Maia Wilson

Img via Pinterest

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
— Mark Twain

Preparing for an interview for your dream job or internship can be nerve-racking and intimidating. Feeling confident in your communication skills and resume content are the first steps! The truth is, whether or not you are wearing a professionally appropriate outfit has a significant influence on the impression you leave behind. What does your business attire say about you?

Unsure if you are wearing the right attire in a certain professional setting? Wondering what to wear to a networking event? While attending a conference? Presenting a project in class, or volunteering backstage at a fashion show?

Finding an appropriate and trendy outfit for an interview or networking event can be bothersome and time consuming. Debating between wearing a formal suit or a more conservative dress can leave your head spinning!

Don’t sweat it. In this post, we will talk about which pieces are appropriate to wear to various professional occasions and provide you with some outfit inspiration. Also, you’ll be happy to know that all of the pieces included are under $50!

PROFESSIONAL SETTING #1:

NETWORKING EVENT

When attending a networking event, you can expect to dress in business casual attire. Networking events are an opportunity to connect with professionals in a more formal environment, but this doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate some individuality into your outfit! 

ADVICE FOR THE OCCASION

  • Ask others if you look appropriate beforehand
  • Smile!
  • Mingle with your peers and companies in a friendly manner. (You may be speaking to your next boss or colleague!)
  •  Prepare a resume and business cards

OUTFIT IDEA: Career Expo

PROFESSIONAL SETTING #2:

CONFERENCE

A business conference can entail a great deal of standing, walking, and talking with others. Wearing a comfortable outfit is important, as well as an appropriate one. A business casual outfit is appropriate for this event. Whether you are presenting, interviewing, or just in attendance, packing a blazer is always a good idea. 

ADVICE FOR THE OCCASION

  • Prepare resume and business cards
  • Update LinkedIn profile
  • Research the companies
  • Have a plan for which general keynote and breakout sessions to attend
  • Get rest the night before/ caffeine during the day

OUTFIT IDEA: Business Conference

PROFESSIONAL SETTING #3:

PRESENTATION

When presenting a project in class or in the boardroom, it is important to not wear bold colors or risque styles. You should want the main focus to be on the project you worked hard to prepare. Be sure to consider how far you may have to walk to class, along with the duration of time you will be standing to present. If you'll be on your feet for a while, wearing comfortable shoes is a must! Also, skip the noisy bangle bracelets that will cause distraction if you use hand gestures. 

ADVICE FOR THE OCCASION

  • Prepare notecards
  • Save your final presentation to a flashdrive
  • Get rest the night before
  • Practice in front of a friend/colleague
  • Have someone look over the content

OUTFIT IDEA: Presentation

PROFESSIONAL SETTING #4:

BACKSTAGE AT A FASHION SHOW

Working backstage at fashion shows can be fun, and also a great learning experience! Wearing the correct attire will show your respect for the producer, designer, or brands being showcased. Unless otherwise instructed, you should wear black from head-to-toe. Comfortable, low-heeled or flat shoes are crucial as you will be on your feet from start to finish! Lastly, refrain from the urge to wear lipstick. The last thing you want is to get a makeup smear on the clothes. 

ADVICE FOR THE OCCASION

  • Be there early
  • Bring extra supplies if necessary (safety pins, fashion tape, etc.)
  • Eat breakfast! (You may not get a chance to while you’re there)
  • Take notes of what you are asked to do if necessary
  • Always have a sense of urgency

OUTFIT IDEA: Backstage Fashion Show Volunteer

PROFESSIONAL SETTING #5:

INTERVIEW

For an interview, wearing the correct business attire is very important. A pant suit for both men and women is always an ideal choice. When wearing a dress or skirt, wearing a blazer to match is suggested. Remember, the individual you are meeting with is your potential employer, so you want to make sure you look polished and professional!

ADVICE FOR THE OCCASION

  • Study the job description
  • Practice a mock interview beforehand
  • Pack all necessary materials, including a copy of your resume and business cards  
  • Do thorough research on the company
  • Prepare questions for the interviewer

OUTFIT IDEA: Internship Interview

Knowing how to dress for a professional occasion doesn't have to be a daunting task! Planning outfits may seem difficult now, but practice makes perfect! Grab inspiration from the outfits above, and add your own personal style to make them yours. 

 If you have a question about what to wear, or want help creating that perfect interview ensemble, check out my Polyvore account! Send me an email regarding the occasion and describe your personal style. I can then tailor a unique look just for you!

Taylar's Email: nuviewfashioneditor@gmail.com

Taylar's Polyvore: http://taylaralexandra.polyvore.com/

CREDITS

Copy & Collages: Taylar Gomez, Fashion Editor

Graphic 1: Ashley Nudge, Editor-In-Chief

CAREERS: NORDSTROM INTERN PROFILE

Maia Wilson

Last week, I sat down to interview Nichole Fallis at Frosty's Diner in Denton.  She's a determined, focused student with big dreams of creating a product or company that will shake the ground of the retail industry.  This past summer, Nichole was one of the few students across the country selected to intern at Nordstrom's headquarters in Seattle, Washington. Although she told me twice that she's still not sure how she got the internship, one can easily understand how after getting to know her. She's humble, authentic, professional, and most importantly, she knows what she wants. Besides her stunning blue eyes, what I find most fascinating about Nichole is her never-ceasing, organic enthusiasm... something that is often hard to find. She proves that with enough passion and preparation, you can achieve your highest goals. 

Read on to learn more about Nichole, and uncover what it really takes to impress HR, land the internship, and excel in the office at one of the leading upscale fashion retailers: Nordstrom.  

Name: Nichole Fallis

Hometown: I grew up in military family since my dad was in the air force, so I’m from a lot of different places. My parents have lived in Helotes, Texas in San Antonio for quite a few years now so I consider that my hometown.

Major(s): Merchandising and Digital Retailing

Minor: Business

Where did you intern at? Which company and in what city?

Nordstrom in Seattle, Washington.

What was your classification when you completed the internship?                                        

Junior going into Senior year.

What was your job title? What department did you work in?                                                             

I was a Buying and Planning intern, also known as a Nordstrom Merchandising Group intern. I worked in the Skincare 1 Buying Pod. There’s two, so I was on team one.

What is the internship paid or unpaid?                                                                                               

 Paid

Part or full time? Exactly how many weeks?                                                                                        

Full time, 9-weeks. 

Did you have any previous internship experience? If so, what experience did you have?           

I did a local, unofficial internship with Austere magazine, but it wasn’t super professional. This was my first real internship with a real corporation at a corporate office.

What were the daily hours?                                                                                                                        

I worked a lot.  Hours varied. Some days I’d only work 8 hours. Some days I’d work 10 or 11 hours. It was a personal choice; I wasn’t being forced to stay there. Either I wanted to be there, I wanted to help… or I had stuff I wanted to work on and get done so I wouldn’t have to do it in the morning and I could work on other stuff.  The weekly hours varied. Some weeks I’d only work 40 hours and some weeks I’d work over 40.  Just depended on what was happening that week.

What was the dress code?                                                                                                       

Nordstrom’s really flexible with the dress code. You kind of have to gauge your pod and division. Cosmetics was actually a little more dressy. I’m not sure why. The denim buying pod always dressed really casual in denim, and tech was super casual wearing flip flops. It ranges, so you have to base it off the certain pod you’re in.

Did you feel like your workload as an intern was manageable? Why or why not?                        

It was manageable but it was just enough to be overwhelming. But, that’s how it is at a new job.

What were you responsible for while at your internship? Describe you day-to-day activities.  

I did a lot of stuff. One of the main things that the buying and planning interns did was go into this system called RDW and pull reports. For example, if my boss said “Oh I don’t think Kiehls is doing that good today,” then I’d pull a this-year last-year report and see how Kiehls was doing last year compared to today. I’d pull that information then give her a little brief over the actual breakdown of the specific numbers. There was also a lot of vendor communication so, if my boss needed me to call a vendor and ask a quick question since they weren’t responding by email, then I’d do that just to take it off of her plate. I also did other little stuff like comp-shopping during my free time. I’d scroll through Sephora and see the deals they had compared to what we had and see if some things weren’t lining up. 

What was your favorite part of the internship? Least favorite part?                                              

[In regards to my favorite part], when you’re at Nordstrom’s internship, they take you on all these different tours and you basically get to go to every different part of the company. So we went to the quality center, the call center, the studio. Honestly my favorite one was the quality center. If you have two feet that are different sizes, Nordstrom will let you purchase one pair of shoes that are two different size shoes. So there’s a lot of leftover shoes at the “Single’s Party” as they call it. So at the Singles Party in the quality center, they are really just trying to match all the singles together from all the stores in the U.S. and Canada. Also, when people buy fancy designer goods and return them, we can no longer sell them at Nordstrom full line stores. So, they go to the quality center and they inspect them, they refurbish them, and there’s actually a whole area where there’s a bunch of cobblers working and they fix the designer shoes and they’ get randomly sent to any rack store in the U.S. And they get sent directly to the manager’s office so that the employees can’t just buy them right away because it’s like Gucci, Chanel, and all these crazy products for really discounted prices that weren’t currently being sold but were very recently being sold. So, throughout the day the manager will randomly just place them in racks at Rack stores. That was something that was really interesting to me that I likedabout Nordstrom. The Rack is a true scavenger hunt, and seeing that side of it from the quality center was really cool.

[When I think of my least favorite day] there was one day when it was Amazon Prime Day. There was just this feeling in the pod that was a lot more stressful. It was a more challenging day, because we were kind of freaked out about what Amazon was doing and [wondering] how we [could] differentiate ourselves. It was like a really REAL day in retail. We were competing against Amazon. That was the gloomiest day. We were all just like “AHHHHH! Amazon is scary.” That was the day when it I thought “Wow, this is not just a fairytale.” 

What did you learn from this internship that contributed to your growth as a professional? 

This is such a broken record, but the importance of networking is crazy at the corporate level. Even though you’re there… you [still] have to network you’re a** off. Be a happy person in the work place because the people who aren’t stand out in a negative way and it’s not good. And just being a true team player and doing things like sending out a little email if you have ten extra minutes saying “Hey I’m not doing anything right now other than my intern project and I can help anyone else out that needs help.” People will come up to you and say “Oh my goodness, if you could just do this one thing…,” and it makes them so happy! Even if no one needs help, just the fact that you sent it out and to make yourself an option makes them think more positively about you as a new person who’s just come in.

Did your views on the retail industry change at all due to the experience?                              

Yes, because Nordstrom had us visit all of the different parts of Nordstrom, and we worked on the floor for a few days during the anniversary sale. I guess to me, I had always thought that corporate positions were the most important (which sounds bad), but I just kind of felt that way because it seems unrealistic otherwise when you’re not there. I thought, “Wow, I hope one day I get to work corporate.” I thought it was like this big thing, like a dream kind of. And then we’re you’re there you realize, yeah corporate’s cool but you can’t even have a job if it’s not for the people that make your job possible. It sounds really silly but, it’s just the idea that all parts are really important. Whether you’re in the quality center, in the fashion studio, or on the floor, they’re all truly equal and interdependent. 

Where did you live in Seattle while you were interning? What did you enjoy or not enjoy about your living quarters?                                                                                                                           

I lived in U District, which is where the University of Washington is located. U District is not as sophisticated as downtown Washington where Nordstrom is located. It’s where the college students live. It’s a little bit more grungy. Seattle has a ton of homeless people, and some of them do live in the U District. I didn’t have a problem with that, but I know that that made some girls uncomfortable. I guess that was one of the sadder parts because you see that they don’t have a place to live. We lived in the University dorms. Mine was in Mercer Court and I got stellar roommates, so it was pretty great. It depends on who you’re rooming with because if you’re rooming with cool people it’s going to be great not matter what location you’re in. I will say the people that didn’t live in the dorm were really left out of stuff because we would just go from our dorm to do stuff. Those who chose not to go the avenue of dorming with Nordstrom… they just didn’t get to have as much fun I feel like.

What was the commute like to and from your internship?

The good thing about living at the University of Washington is that there are bus stops everywhere. From our dorm to the bus stop, it was probably just a 1 to 2 minute walk. But, public transportation in Seattle is a lot different than here because a lot of people use it… so it’s a lot more efficient than what you think of here. Sometimes I’d walk up to the bus stop and the bus would just come, and from there it only takes me 10 minutes for me to get to the bus stop that allows me to get to work… with a 3 minute walk. But some days, it would take the bus 10 minutes [to show up], so my commute could be anywhere from 20 minutes to 30 minutes. But at Nordstrom you don’t have to get to work at a set time. It’s just like, be here before this time, or between these times, so it was never super stressful. Sometimes you’re packed like sardines [in the bus], and sometimes children throw up, but other than that it’s fine. 

Can you walk us through the steps of your interview process?                                           

Towards the end of December 2014, I submitted my application online. Nordstrom doesn’t do any testing, so there’s no personality test, there’s no retail math test. You just turn in your application, and at the beginning of the year – I remember it being around the end of Christmas break – I got an email saying I got to the next step and that I’d be doing a video interview.  The first Skype interview you could do any day before a due date. So you just logged onto the site and you did the interview any time you wanted. The first interview, you’re not actually talking to anyone live. You’re talking to this prerecorded lady who’s asking you questions and you respond. I recommend doing it during the day when your roommate’s gone and you have nice natural light on your face and you just look really good. And if you do well on that, they send you another email asking you to do the final interview which is using that same system but you’re actually with live people. And they’re flexible. They give you multiple times to choose from. I know when Neiman Marcus interviews, they’re just like here’s the time you’re doing it and if you can’t, then… sorry. But Nordstrom is not like that. They’re like “Choose between these times, let us know…,” so they’re very nice. You interview with a panel of people. Mine was with 4 or 5 people, and it starts exactly on time when they say it does, and it ends exactly when they say it’s going to end. They were very punctual which was cool. They asked some difficult questions; I was kind of surprised. I consider it one of the hardest interviews I’ve done. An example of one of these hard questions was “Explain a time in your life when you used numbers to solve a difficult life situation.” I can’t remember what I responded with. If you guys get to that point, be prepared for that question. [After that interview] they emailed me and let me know I got it and sent me the details and stuff.

What skills/experience/and classes benefited you the most while on-the-job?                     

Profit Centered Merchandising. It’s only the Excel part. I was never having to sit down and number crunch. Any class that has forced you to be adaptable, I would say is the most useful. I hate to learn to use Outlook. I hate Outlook. That sounds silly but that was challenging to me… learning how to use their mailing system. You have to be kind-of tech savvy because what you’re having to do is essentially getting on their reporting systems and figuring out how to pull their reports and it’s very complicated. They give you some training but nothing can fully prepare you. 

What was the structure of the training program?                                                                 

Nordstrom is not big on training, but they did offer the interns a few classes. At the beginning of the internship we had a lot more training and then it dwindled down. But, they did have a class where they taught us how to pull those reports. They had a class that showed us the best way to approach our intern projects. We listened to guest speakers [like Olivia Kim!]. We had basic classes on merchandising, but specific to Nordstom and they’re acronyms and terms that they use. We had a culture club too which was run by former interns where they told us stuff that most people don’t know. Like, at Nordstrom, no one chews gum because the Nordstrom bothers really hate when people chew gum. And they taught us things like, never bring another retailer’s bag with your lunch – like a Forever21 bag – into the Nordstrom corporate office, because people are going to look at you and wonder what you are doing. Make it seem like the only place you ever shop at is Nordstrom. We took classes that helped us merge into the culture which is a bigger deal to them than hard-core training.

What was the most challenging obstacle you had to overcome at your internship?            

What made it challenging was we were given an intern project at the beginning of our internship. The project was really specific and you had to give a presentation towards the end of your internship. So, what was difficult was balancing digging in deep to that project while still helping my pod out.

How would you describe your relationship with the other interns?                                                

My roommates were interns so I would say amazing. It was really fun. It’s just kind of cool when you have all these people who have such similar interests as you and are really passionate and are obsessed with the same company.  I can remember going out to dinner with my roommates and we got horrible service. And Nordstrom is really big on service so we were like “ughhh… that was such horrible service!,” and then we all looked at each other like, ”wow.” People have really similar values as you and also the same interests. We definitely went out on the weekends, and would run into everyone in the same area, so it was a really positive, good experience. I heard rumors of other people not getting along, but I didn’t really have that problem. 

What did you do after work Monday-Friday and on the weekends?                                    

Monday through Friday, sometimes the HR department would have different events for us to participate in, like one of the duck-call things, little cocktail hours, stuff like that. Sometimes I would meet up with my roommates if we were getting off around the same time and go have one drink and head home. Or we’d go straight home and change into ugly, comfy clothes and then go walk down The Ave and get Indian or Thai food and maybe go thrift shopping. On the weekends we did everything.  We went to Portland one weekend. We went to Pike’s Place which is the big market in Seattle. We just tried to see as much of Seattle as we could and at night we would go-out, go-out. 

How would you describe your relationship with your boss and/or mentors?                              

My boss was really sweet… more soft-spoken, but would obviously speak up when she needed to. She was more nurturing. My boss was a buy-planner. So she was in charge of a product category, ours being Skincare 1. And too, her pod is broken up into a buy-planner, a buyer, an assistant buyer, an assistant buy-planner, replenishment buyers, and also a merchant assistant. But now, there’s also going to be a merchant analyst/office aide. That’s the structure of the whole entire pod, so basically everyone in the whole entire pod was my boss. But the person who was in charge of my documentation was the buy-planner. She was able to explain to me how to do stuff and invited me to vendor meetings. I got to sit down in meetings and talk with people and they’d make me feel like I was part of the team. I remember being in one meeting with the buyer in my pod and she was like “Smell these two scents. Which one do you think is better?” And then she was like “Okay we’ll take this one too.” So I made that decision, and it was going in the store. It sounds miniscule but they truly value your opinion. I wasn’t in the back just holding a clipboard; I was sitting at the table and helping them make decisions, and talking about what the packaging looked like, and what scents we think are going to be big at certain times of the year. 

From your perspective, how would you describe Nordstrom’s corporate company culture?  

Be an individual, but be an individual that works well with other individuals. When you’re walking down the street in Seattle, you can kind of tell who works at Nordstrom because they have really good style that is also very unique. And I think that’s something that’s really unique to their culture. They’re very much themselves but also very nice and humble at the same time. You can’t really tell who’s a higher up executive in the corporate office. 

Would you recommend this internship to other students? Why or why not?                          

Yes, yes, yes! Because, Nordstrom is going to have world domination! Just kidding. There’s a few reasons. Nordstrom’s an old company and they’ve been growing as a company for a very long time, which is challenging in today’s environment. When I was applying for internships, I knew I wanted to be with a stable company; one that I was pretty sure wasn’t going downhill anytime soon. I wanted to intern for a company I wanted to work for. That was something I really looked at, and Nordstrom fit that for me. They’ve been doing really well, and they plan on growing a lot more by 2020. They’re also growing well with technology. I recommend it just because you learn a lot, they take your opinion, and the company is doing well… there’s not this weird feeling because people are getting fired. 

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What is one piece of advice you would give to a student pursuing an internship at Nordstrom?                                                                                                                                                

They need to tailor their resume. But, I think for Nordstrom its way more about the cover letter. I could be wrong. But, I put a lot of time into my cover letter. I made sure they knew that I knew about their company history, so I sprinkled in a fact about how they were originally a shoe store, but in a fun and quirky way. Obviously if you’re applying for the buying internship, make sure that it’s evident that you have retail math skills, and that you’ve taken certain classes. Then in your cover letter, make sure it shows your personality, what you’ve done, and that you know the company. Also, if you know someone that knows someone, get them to pass on your application. That’s another big thing. 


CREDITS

Wardrobe Styling: Nichole Fallis

Copy, Photography, and Graphics: Ashley Nudge