Julia Davenport is a Marketing major and will be graduating in May of 2019. She interned as the Buying Intern for TJX Companies in Los Angeles, California.
How did you get this internship? I read about this first internship on Handshake and then met with campus recruiters at the Eller Career Expo during the Fall semester. After speaking to the recruiter, Jason, it was clear that this job, and this company, would be a great fit for me. Jason highlighted the relaxed and comfortable company culture and the diverse and exciting position that TJX has available not only in the US but worldwide. After the Expo, I promptly applied for the Buying and Merchandising Position in the LA Buying Office and was awarded a 1st round video interview. After completing my interview I was then asked to attend a final round group and solo interview at the office in LA. The company flew me out, had a car pick me up and bring me to the hotel. The interview the next morning was a rigorous 3 part interview that consisted of a test of math and analytical skills, a group business analysis discussion and recommendation and then 3 solo interviews with recruiters and department buyers. The process was rigorous and long, but worth it.
What was your favorite part of the experience? As an outgoing, talkative, extrovert the thought of sitting at a desk in a lonely cubicle for 8 hours a day terrifies me. Yet, working as an intern for TJX, I never felt that fear. TJX is a collaborative company. There are no cubicles or closed doors, the environment is inviting and exciting and many days you don’t even go to the office at all. What I liked most about my experience as a buying intern was the excitement that each day brought because they were all so different. Some days we would be meeting vendors out in the market such as Anastasia Beverly Hills, StriVectin, Algenist, Too Faces, or Stila. And other days we would be out in the market analyzing business and comparing our business to competitors. The job was the perfect balance of desk and market work and satisfied my need for numbers and order while still allowing an exciting creative outlet.
If you worked on a big project, please describe it below: Throughout my internship I was assigned to a buy in a specific Department. I interned for TJXC Beauty, AKA Beauty Canada. Beauty in Canada is a developing business for TJX that successfully grosses more than $70M in a year, and yet the department is low on buyers. The US Beauty market does double the revenue with more than double the help. At the accumulation of my internship I was tasked with analyzing the business and making a meaningful suggestion that could help the business be more profitable. I choose to focus on arguing for a new buyer in my department, a task usually given to department managers. I looked at current revenue per buyer, and broke down our vendor base into geographical regions in order to better understand what having a traveling buyer could do for the Canada Beauty Business. I researched trends in beauty, and looked at new, unopened brands and products and ultimately was able to find an untapped beauty business that has the potential to gross $24M in the first year alone. My suggestion to hire a new buyer to focus on Natural and Organic Facial and Colour products was taken under advisement by the CEO of the LA office and the company is now talent searching for a new buyer for my suggested department.
What did you find most challenging about your internship? The most challenging aspect of my internship was having to be the one to take initiative on projects and day-to-day tasks. My mentor was so busy that if I did not take the first step to look for what needed to be done and do it, she never would’ve had time to tell me what she needed and I would’ve therefore not been able to get much of anything done. Work, unlike school, has no rubric or syllabus with a complete assignment schedule. The day-to-day changes everyday, feedback is given and must be acted upon promptly and there is work to be done everywhere, you just have to be willing to find it.
What advice do you have for other students looking for a similar internship? Dress the part. As a buying intern I knew a huge part of my job would be fashion and beauty and then, being placed with the skin and make-up buyer my appearance was even more critical. I wanted to come off polished, professional, and look like an expert in my business. I dressed well, even if the environment was casual, and made sure that I always looked like a beauty authority so vendors and colleagues would take me seriously.
Did your internship employer provide housing or transportation assistance? My employer provided housing and transportation.
Anything else you would like to share about your internship experience? A great company, a great experience, and an incredible job offer percentage (89% of interns are offered either a full time position or another internship).