October 11, 2011

Internship Success: Macy's

Danielle Ryan, Fashion Design 2012
Place of internship: Macy's Summer 2011

Danielle has always had an interest in market-driven, corporate fashion businesses, so when an opportunity to intern at Macy's Merchandising Group presented itself in May of 2011, she knew it was right. Interns choose from departments such as men's, women's children, accessories, loungewear, and home. Danielle found out more about the program in weeks leading up to orientation: it was a paid, 40 hour per week, 8 week-long internship program that included working closely with a design team daily and a special market-based side project for interns that would be presented to executives of Macy's. The best part is that a majority of interns are offered jobs for after graduation. It seemed like the most promising offer, so Danielle signed on with Alfani women's cut and sew knitwear from the beginning of June until the end of July.

Macy's Merchandising Group encompasses all of Macy's private brands, the labels that are designed within Macy's and placed on the salesfloor along side other brands that Macy's carries, such as DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger, and BCBGeneration. The total profits of private brands makes up about 20% of MMG's business, so it's a really great opportunity to design for them and bring the customer back to Macy's again and again.

The best part about Danielle's experience at Macy's, besides being paid, was getting to meet some of the top executives of Macy's, such as Terry Lundgren, Peter Sachse, and Jeff Kantor, and receiving their advice about being successful in the fashion retail industry. Also, at the end of the program, all of the interns get to choose a location at which they do community service. This is an important aspect of the Macy's company culture, which Danielle feels is important and says a lot about the people who work there. Danielle feels that Macy's really takes deep interest in interns as the future of their company and takes great care of them, from paying them to ensuring they do not work more than 40 hours each week. Another awesome aspect was that all of the interns are taken to New Jersey where the Macy's Parade Studio is located. They are given a personal tour of the facility and get to see the entire process of how the balloons and floats for all of the Macy's events are created. Finally, Danielle has made lasting connections and friendships with other students in many areas of fashion - buying, planning, merchandising, accounting, e-commerce - from schools around the country.
Danielle's best advice for a student seeking an internship: "In my department, we are often told to just intern in one specific area, such as specifically design, but it is extremely important to know every aspect of your industry inside and out, and today, people who will hire you are often looking for that person that has experience in everything - design, sales, merchandising, public relations, production, social media - and isn't afraid to try something new. As long as you're learning, there's no such thing as an unhelpful internship. Also, coming from a fashion major, ALWAYS dress professionally - people really do take notice and appreciate it. It shows that you care about your job and you take care of yourself."

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