Caitlin Barner is studying Marketing and MIS and interned with Target.
Tell us a little bit about how you landed the internship: Looking for an internship for my sophomore year, I began the search early by attending the UA Fall Career Fair. I visited several different companies of which most told me that sophomores often don’t receive internships. Then, I visited Target and ended up chatting with several different people in a variety of fields within the company. A Store Team Leader offered me an interview on the spot, and from there I continued through the recruitment process. I had about three interviews, two being phone and one a formal interview with a district leader.
What was a typical day at your internship like? The nice thing about Target is that there really was never a “typical day.” My mentor and I would make plans and goals for the week, however often times the business needs of the store would completely change, and therefore we would have to adjust and set new goals. In the HR internship, I was able to train alongside my mentor to schedule our in-store team, estimate payroll, and handle employee relations challenges.
What was your favorite part of the internship? My favorite part of the internship was that I was able to stay within my department, yet work with any team member in any work center to learn more about what they do on a day-to-day basis. I enjoyed that I was able to diversify my communication skills and expand my knowledge of the business world through personal development. I truly felt that Target was invested in improving my leadership skills and developing me not only to be a leader in the building but also in whatever other endeavors I choose to pursue. I also greatly appreciated that my input was very valued from many leaders within the company. I was able to spearhead several of my own projects to make a difference within my store location.
What are a few things you learned? I feel like I learned so much throughout the internship, but one thing I most appreciated was the realization that a lot more effort and business skills go into one store and one corporation than you truly believe. Besides my own department of HR and understanding how the business fluctuates based on our consumers, I was able to learn about the logistics process and how the distribution center estimates what to ship to our stores. I spent a few days in our assets protection work center where I was able to dive into shortage prevention, apprehension and theft, return and coupon fraud, and so forth. I was also able to learn from both in-store and district leaders about visual merchandising, the trends we should market to based on our customer base and everyday customer.
What advice you have for other students looking for a similar internship? The best advice I could give would be to consistently ask questions. If you are looking for or have an internship like the one I had, you should be leaving work everyday with at least one new thing that you learned. Not only is constant learning great for your development, but it also helps draw attention to your plans of action for a particular task or any goals you may have that are different from your supervisors’. Never be afraid to vocalize your input and understand that your time and efforts are greatly valued.
How did Eller prepare you for your internship? Eller prepared me by perfecting my resume, instilling confidence in myself to present myself to a group or individual, and overall motivating me to maintain a driven and optimistic mentality throughout the internship search process. While this is only my first semester, I am excited to see how my classes will help me more specifically channel my skills to be the best businesswoman I can be.