My job responsibilities during my internship differed from day to day. I attended many vendor meetings for the clothing and gift department, where I would then help select products for the store. Once we selected the products we liked I would communicate with different reps and art teams to come up with art for these products. Each time we wanted to get something new or reorder current products I would create a purchase order in our inventory software system, which was MBS at the time. As a buyer it is important to run different analysis so I was able to do this multiple times for different things so that it would help us understand where we were at with open to buy, online sales, and to compare our products with our competitors. Most weeks I would assist the Gift Buyer with cycle counts for the gift division to make sure that inventory was correct. We would usually do this when there were negative numbers or if we have items that cause problems during inventory. Throughout the semester I would help recommend features, promotions, and markdowns to the marketing team and the GIft Buyer. If we had events going on in the store such as Buy Back we would come up with a list of ideas and then go over them with the marketing team to see which ones would be the best. Every few weeks I was responsible for creating a new window display in Tech Cyte to reflect what was happening in the store. For example, graduation is coming up so I created a display with graduation gowns, diploma frames, and different gift items that were meant for Alumni.
My greatest accomplishment during my internship experience was completing an analysis report of the most ordered items online and the least ordered items online from both the main store and alumni store. I had to run reports by each division 4 class for the Spring 2019 term, Fall 2020 term, and Spring 2021 term. After narrowing in on a specific term I ran a daily sales extract report for each class in division 4 for both the main store and alumni store in the gift division. This project took me about 6 weeks to finish and once I was done it was such a good feeling. It was amazing to look at how much online sales have increased in just a year. A lot of it has to do with the pandemic, but it is also because we had a good product selection and were coming up with good online promotions. I was shocked by a lot of the top selling items but it was helpful to see because there were some items that I would not think that we needed. Then after seeing how well they do online it completely changed my mind.
The greatest lessons I learned from my experience were how to prioritize, meet deadlines, and not second guess myself. In a buying role there are a lot of small tasks that need to be completed as well as big projects. Sometimes the small tasks are just as important as the big projects so it was important that I learned quickly what needed to get done first. This will be very helpful in my personal and professional life in the future. I will always have multiple things that need to be done at a time but knowing which comes first will be extremely useful. Meeting deadlines was also something that I learned a lot about through this experience. Each month we would have monthly open-to-buy meetings with Management One and I was in charge of having the report ready before each meeting. If I would not have met the deadline then we would not have been prepared and it would be very unprofessional. We would not have had action plans, reasonings for why we placed orders, and breakdowns for where our inventory is at. Another thing that I learned was not to second guess myself. This is something that I will always deal with but my internship has helped me improve in this part of my life.
What advice would you give?
Some advice that I have for future students in my major would be to get as involved as possible. Take advantage of Trend, The Fashion Show, and different internships that you may be able to get around Ames or Des Moines. It is never too early to meet other students and build relationships with other AMD students or businesses for future connections.