Monica Luu, an apparel merchandising major, can now say she was a buyer intern at the oldest company in North America — Hudson’s Bay Company.
Hudson’s Bay Company owns Saks Fifth Avenue, Hudson’s Bay and Lord + Taylor. She was able to assist her supervisor in establishing buy sheets and price changes, sit in on vendor meetings, go through online assortments and survey competitors through comparative shopping analysis both in-store and online.
“During my first couple of weeks, I had the opportunity to sit in on vendor meetings and have my input being considered and used when it came to choosing products and where the highest profitability store locations would be to sell them at,” Monica said.
She also took part in round tables to learn about various job functions within the company and participated in a group project that utilized her creativity and technical skills to raise foot traffic in stores.
“I felt that I made a lot of improvement when it came to my technical and presenting skills,” she said. “Much of the work that needed to be done was through company software and excel. I was able to establish a more structured foundation technically.”
Before her internship, she found technical computer skills to be difficult to learn. However, her internship was in an environment that encourages asking questions so she was able to learn and develop at her own pace.
“This experience has exposed me to so many new people and skills, that I can honestly say that I have changed and developed into a better person and worker,” Monica said.
Monica was able to work with the assistant merchandiser to look through a vendor catalog and pick out a new assortment for Hudson Bay’s online website.
“Being allowed to make such big decisions and seeing the fruit of my labor put on site was extremely rewarding,” she said.
She learned that the apparel merchandising industry is a lot more relaxed and that people have more free reign to make their own decisions than she previously thought.
“Through my supervisor, I saw that he made his own decisions, took risks where he deemed fit, and never second-guessed his decisions when bringing in a new vendor or assortment,” Monica said. “Prior to this, I thought that corporate life would be more restrictive and not as creative as it turned out to be.”
When Monica first started her internship, she was nervous about having access to corporate files and being assigned to projects that had a major impact within my department. Her advice to others is just to take in everything that comes at you.
“Mistakes are made, but it’s nothing to be afraid of making, she said. “An internship is a place to ask questions, learn, and make mistakes so that you can grow as a professional.”
Of course, she (and your career coach!) would recommend writing everything down so you aren’t constantly asking the same questions.