Elise Martinez

This summer, I was offered an amazing internship with a well-respected home décor company located in San Francisco, CA. I was selected to work with the Pottery Barn Kids Merchandising team, and I was excited to start my journey with the company. While I had a vague idea of what merchandising was, I did not know what to expect on a daily basis. I accepted the position because after hearing the general description, I knew that I would have the opportunity to work with a variety of departments within the company, and I would be able to explore all types of different career opportunities.

My manager was extremely enthusiastic about me coming to join the team, and she set up Meet & Greet opportunities so I would be able to have in depth conversations with various department leaders and learn more about their specific roles. What impressed me the most during my time as an intern was everyone’s positive attitudes! Each person I spoke with during my time allowed me to ask questions, and genuinely wanted to listen to me and teach me about the company.

As a merchandising assistant, I was able to fully engage with all products that had not hit the market yet. Therefore I would work on setting up SKU numbers in order to make the products traceable once they were released. Additionally, I was able to assist in the photo shoot process by sending new products to the photo studio. I also was able to attend a shoot for 10 hours and assist the photo team in a variety of ways. What I loved about this position is that I was constantly doing a new task with a different set of people. Granted, there was a large learning curve—but I knew there would challenges since I had never worked in a corporate setting before.

Another great benefit to working on the merchandising team was having the ability to attend all business and product development meetings. I enjoyed the fact that this job was both creative and analytical. At the end of my internship, I had the opportunity to present a final project that consisted of a new Nursery Gifting assortment for Fall 2016. I used all of the knowledge that I had learned from attending these meetings to make a new product forecast for the fall season. Having the opportunity to enliven an existing assortment of products was a great experience, and I loved that it could potentially impact the business in real life.

Overall, I think that taking the risk to move to a new city with a temporary internship was one of the best decisions I could have made. Everyday I was learning something new, and I was able to use the skills that I was taught in the classroom and actually apply them—being prepared for speaking in public was definitely a plus in my case! I was fortunate to work with a team and a manager that encouraged my growth throughout the program. I received great feedback, and I feel more confident in my skillset and ability to interact with others in a business setting. I now know that I will be ready to tackle the job market once I graduate this coming fall.  I encourage all students to apply for a corporate internship as your overall perspective will be broadened, and you have the chance to apply your strengths and talents within a team setting.