Skylar Binney is a Marketing major set to graduate in May 2020. This past summer she interned for Mars Inc. as a Sales and Marketing Intern in Phoenix, Arizona.
How did you get this internship?
My academic advisor at Eller suggested I participate in an information session for Mars, Inc. Although I was not formally signed up, I attended the session and introduced myself to the associates upon arrival. I was asked to come back the following day for an interview, and received the internship offer a few weeks later. A last minute decision turned out to be the best learning experience of my college career.
What was a typical day like?
Mornings at Mars, Inc. began with reviewing sales trackers and reports that other associates had created. Then, I worked on my intern project, which consisted of pulling and analyzing data. It was up to us to define the story, so pulling the right metrics and data was the most important part. We participated in many trainings with the other associates, as Mars emphasizes giving their associates the proper tools and trainings needed to perform at the highest level. “If you ever stop learning, you’re in the wrong place” -my line manager.
What was your favorite part of the experience?
Mars, Inc. allowed me to feel valued through their trust in my work. I was able to create innovation forecasts for products, and my forecasts are relied on by the supply and sales team even past my internship. The data I analyzed and organized was used by many associates in their own presentations and reports to buyers, so it was incredible to see my work being so trusted that others were willing to present it themselves.
If you worked on a big project, please describe it below:
The other two interns and I created an hour and a half long presentation that consisted of an innovation sales pitch for PetSmart and three individual experiential presentations. We were given 17 items to sell to PetSmart in 2020, with a vast amount of data at our fingertips. Our data points were utilized in the actual buyer meeting that one of our associates had, and we were able to present the sales pitch to a PetSmart buyer ourselves. The individual portion of the presentation consisted of a recap of our growth and experience with Mars, focusing on our development plan and objectives we had set for ourselves.
What did you find most challenging about your internship?
The autonomous learning and ambiguity was the most challenging aspect, however, I learned the most from it. In school, we are taught how, why, and what to learn, and even what is expected of our work. However, at Mars, Inc. I was given a very vague objective –– sell innovation. The access we had to data was overwhelming at times, but learning what questions to ask and when to ask them was a skill I wouldn’t have learned otherwise.
What advice do you have for other students looking for a similar internship?
Look for an internship that you feel represents your beliefs. I was considering other internships that did not necessarily stand for products I believed in, and I was afraid no other opportunities would come my way. I took a chance turning down a good offer, but stumbled upon the most incredible experience I have ever had with Mars, Inc. Especially in sales, believe in what you’re selling.
How did Eller prepare you for your internship?
Eller allowed me to work more efficiently in a team environment. The interns and I had all participated in the BCOM course and case competition. The repetitive practice presenting and organizing a specific plan for action became very helpful in the midst of the ambiguity of the project. We were able to work seamlessly and efficiently the whole way through. After experiencing BCOM, we all came into the internship with the same expectations, work ethic, and motivation to perform at the highest level.
Did your internship employer provide housing or transportation assistance?
Housing – my employer provided housing
Anything else you would like to share about your internship experience?
Although Mars, Inc. was my first internship, it was the most incredible company to work for. I stumbled upon Mars unintentionally, but it became the best learning process in all of my academic experience. I would like students to know that even when one door closes, if another doesn’t open, find a way to open it yourself. The opportunities are endless and Eller is there every step of the way to help you find them.