Students finding career beginnings from internships earned in college
Published: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 30, 2013 23:09
According to the Census Bureau’s population survey and the United States Department of Labor, about 53.6 percent of college graduates under the age of 25 are jobless or underemployed. Future employers favor job candidates with previous experience and are looking for skilled graduates. Internships offer field training during college and provide networking for potential future employment.
Senior McKenna Fenton recently completed an internship with the Nordstrom Merchandising Group in Seattle, Wash. this past summer. The NMG is based at Nordstrom’s Seattle headquarters and is responsible for buying and planning future merchandise for the entire company.
“The job market is really competitive, and if you could have that real-world experience, it makes you very attractive to a potential employer,” Fenton said. “Internships are a good segue into a career because most of the time, companies hire you as an intern with the intent to hire you after you graduate.”
The NMG interns worked in a variety of divisions including handbags, women’s shoes, cosmetics and social media. Fenton worked closely with the men’s footwear department and attended weekly vendor meetings where brand representatives would come display their lines for upcoming seasons.
“We decided what would be successful in our various stores based off of those meetings,” Fenton said. “I thought they were so interesting. They made me fall in love with the fashion industry.”
NMG intern Rachel Peterson worked in the men’s sportswear buying office and shadowed an assistant buyer. Along with Fenton, she observed how to place orders and forecast fashion trends.
“I learned how to act and communicate in a corporate office and learned the data analysis side of buying,” Peterson said. “On the communication side, I learned how to act in a fast-paced, professional environment.”
Nordstrom also lets interns meet with company executives through a series of tours, lectures and seminars.
“I was able to email back and forth with the president of customer experience and the manager of the flagship store in Seattle,” Peterson said. “They loved answering my questions and even wanted to hear my experiences and opinions on things.”
Every summer, Nordstrom invites their top spenders to the Fall Designer Preview. The fashion show consists of upcoming content from top designers, available for presale to clients. The interns were backstage runners assigned to a model to make sure the pieces always looked beautiful and put together.
“It was completely amazing, to be up close and personal with the models and collections by people like Valentino, Dior and Lanvin,” Fenton said. “To be able to touch and see designer couture in person was incredibly awesome.”