Retail NaviGator

The Retail NaviGator - our communication to you about our research on retailing issues and the activities of the David F. Miller Center. This ongoing media change creates a direct connection to the retailing community in a way that keeps information current, direct and GREEN!

November: Issue 3, 2014

In this issue:


Gators Turn to Retailing for Business Internships

The summer internships for 2014 were big for retailers. Students from various majors across the University of Florida were exposed to the diverse careers this industry offers. What follows are just a few experiences from more than 200 student internships!


Walgreens Internship Exceeded Student Expectations

By Jeremy Ambo

Interning with Walgreens has been an extraordinary experience. I gained the necessary skills to lead team members, manage store operations and drive value. This internship sets itself apart from others because interns are given the opportunity to work closely with a highly performing store manager and pharmacy manager to complete projects. It also allows interns to have complete creative control to plan and execute events.

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I considered retailing for my summer internship because the industry is constantly evolving. I was able to gain exposure to various local, state and federal sectors, which enhanced my professional development. By completing small projects focused on Walgreens' "Six Signature Programs," I was able to build store operations acumen and lead for strategic results. I also gained an understanding of the retail industry, the opportunities that exist due to the high demand for pharmaceuticals as a result of the aging U.S. population, and recent changes to the healthcare system.

I was given managerial responsibilities and clear expectations for my performance. I also received intensive hands-on training and mentorship from my store manager, pharmacy manger, district manager, pharmacy supervisor, and loss prevention supervisor. As a part of my responsibility, I led team members by challenging them to "Be One, Be Real, Be Bold, Build Trust, Love Customers, Own It, and Live It." I created action plans to hold team members accountable for these beliefs, and to increase the store's overall "delight score." This internship has made me a more strategic thinker and has given me the tools to organize and execute with excellence.

Overall, this internship exceeded my expectations. I was treated as a valued team member and encouraged to reach my full potential. I highly recommend interning with Walgreens for anyone interested in pursuing a career in retailing. I gained valuable insight into the retail industry and revenue-generating strategies. Upon graduation, I expect to continue working with Walgreens as an assistant store manager and continue to improve metrics for this wonderful company.


JCPenney Offers Variety in Internship Training

By Ana Fernandez

I knew I wanted a retail career since I was 16 years old. So it was a given that I would pursue an internship with a retailer in college. My experience interning for JCPenney has been one I will never forget. I have done everything from receive merchandise at 4 a.m. to being the manager on duty.

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In eight weeks, I learned how to think on my feet quicker and more efficiently, multi-task, manage people, and much more. However, the biggest lesson was learning the importance of communication. I had plenty of leadership opportunities and teamwork experiences throughout the internship. I coached associates on several aspects of their job such as how to get customers to apply for a credit card, how to ask open-ended questions and how to plan shipments. The training helped to build my confidence such that I can handle any scenario that may arise.

Working with such a great team this summer has been truly amazing. I learned so much from every single manager and associate at the store. After my experience I am confident to say that I would love to pursue a long career in retail.


Each Day Provides New Experiences at Beall's

By Amanda Ladner

Throughout my amazing internship with Beall's, I gained real-world experience that I would not have been able to learn in a classroom. Some of my favorites duties included meeting with vendors to discuss and view their 2015 fashion lines; attending a photo shoot at Long Boat Key and directing a shot that was placed in a July ad; putting together swim orders based on past selling reports (the buyer actually let me pick out styles and colors of more than 60 swimsuits that will be in stores in January!); going to stores to evaluate sales and visual set ups; attending weekly meetings with the entire women's division recapping the prior week's sales; and working with social media to put new material on their pages. This is only part of my summer with Beall's!!!

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When searching for an internship for the summer, I can't say that retail was at the top of my list, but after the first week of being at Beall's I knew I made the right decision. This industry is extremely fast-paced, numbers-based, and you are constantly on your toes. I never had the same schedule two days in a row;everyday my calendar looked different and that is something I really loved about this job!

Beall's is such an amazing place to work. The familial work environment was filled with friendly people who were always willing to answer questions and to help me succeed. Throughout my internship I was able to work in a variety of areas within the corporate office. My mentor really wanted me to get a full picture of the buying process and of retail in general.

Needless to say, I had an amazing time at my internship this summer at Beall's.


Fast-Paced Career is Fun at Macy's

By Jessica LeSan

#iIntern4Macys is only one of the great components that set the Macy's internship program apart from others.

As a Macy's intern this past summer, I took advantage of strengthening my leadership, teamwork, and communication skills while working alongside some of the best professionals, leaders and people I have ever met. The Macy's Store Management Internship Program follows an exceptional structure that pairs each intern with a mentor sales manager as well as a summer project. The program provides countless opportunities to experience nearly every position in the store and even several at the district level.

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One of my favorite parts of this internship was the opportunity to work in other stores and meet other interns. Macy's flew me to Miami for an Intern Summit where I was able to meet all the other interns in my region and work in the downtown Miami store where I completed a project. The hashtag I mentioned earlier was another way the interns could keep in touch and see what everyone was up to in their own stores through social media.

While there were many challenges I faced this summer, the lessons I learned and the people whom supported me led me to success. I was able to hone my leadership skills to encourage increased performance and results. I was able to utilize knowledge from various business classes at the University of Florida and apply that information to the real world. Recognizing that each individual is different and must in turn be managed in differing ways was one of the most valuable lessons I have learned.

I considered this retailing internship because of the fast-paced environment, the reputation and the place in American history that Macy's holds. Moving forward I know that the retail industry IS for me. I enjoy the pace; I work harder and faster under the pressure and it's fun. I learned that every day is different. I learned that I can plan ahead for this meeting, coach this associate, make this floor change, and then accomplish half of the "to do's" on my list. I also learned that all of this is perfectly okay.

So, based on my experience, would I want to work for Macy's again? The answer is – absolutely.


The ROSS Experience

By Serge Russo

Ross Dress For Less is a retail company that offers an exciting opportunity for all retail enthusiastic students to learn just how to manage a retail store. By creating a TRUE (Treasure, Respect, Fun, Efficient) environment, Ross gives its interns a fun and friendly work environment filled with some of the best employees and managers in retail.

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On my first day, I had lunch with other interns in my district as well as leaders and store managers. During my first two weeks, I was trained on all Ross processes and given a guideline of store procedures and operations. I was given a chance to become familiar with my home store and the Ross team I would be working with. I learned how to open and close a high volume store as well as how to manage during busy hours and properly delegate tasks to our enthusiastic Ross associates.

Opportunities for growth are apparent throughout the store as Ross motivates associates to learn and develop their skills. I had opportunities to develop myself by leading rally meetings and getting my team pumped for the work day. My store managers shared successes and opportunities with me and supported my IDP (Individual Development Plan.) Weekly follow-ups were always done to fine-tune my management skills. Any special recognition was not only given to me, but all associates for great service delivered to our customers.

A retailing management internship at Ross was a great experience that not only allowed me to feel more confident with what I studied in my classes, but also allowed me an opportunity to implement that knowledge in the real world. It was amazing to see how I can help drive results by working in a team setting. This internship strengthened my opinion of retail in a positive way. I have made many friends and will cherish all my experiences here at Ross.


Retail Navigator

This electronic newsletter from The David F. Miller Center for Retailing Education and Research is issued throughout the year to provide updates on what is happening in retailing at the University of Florida. Information regarding student outreach, jobs, internships, research and retailing connections throughout the country will be included. We hope you enjoy seeing what Gators are doing in the retail industry!

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