Name: Eileen Wang
Type of Project: Internship
I am a third-year marketing major in the Fisher College of Business, and my STEP Signature Project was a summer 2017 internship with Victoria’s Secret at their Home Office in Reynoldsburg, Ohio. I was actually offered the opportunity to continue my internship part-time through the fall semester, so I am still currently a Brand Marketing Intern on the Marketing Strategy team. My specific role on the team is to support email, so I create content for our customer emails and I plan segmentation in order to support our overall marketing strategy for lingerie and sport apparel.
While completing my STEP Signature project, I was able to learn more in my 12-week long internship than I did in my first 2 years of college—this was shocking realization for me. This was my first internship, and I now realize the true value of gaining real, hands-on experience in the professional work space. My first couple weeks flew by like a blur, and I just spent that time absorbing everything and getting use to a 9am-5pm job, with the lengthy rush-hour commutes in the mornings and evenings. This was my first glimpse into an “adult life”.
Half way through my internship is when I really started to understand everything that was going on around me. I understood why I was doing the tasks that were assigned to me, and what my deliverables supported in the overall marketing strategy scheme. My understanding of myself definitely grew throughout my internship experience. I was challenged more than I am during school. For example, missing a deadline in the work place has a larger consequence than missing a deadline for school. In the workplace, if deadlines are not met, millions of dollars in sales are on the line whereas in school, if a deadline is not met, your GPA might suffer a .01 drop.
Before I began my internship, I thought I was pretty skilled at multi-tasking and balancing a lot on my plate. But they definitely weren’t kidding when they said that fashion retail is fast-paced. On some days, I found myself scrambling to get last minute requests done in order to support sudden changes in business plans. I can definitely say that I was never bored throughout my internship. I was constantly learning, and because of the busy environment, I was able to better develop my time management skills too.
My assumptions of the business world definitely transformed during my internship too. I never realized the true complexity of running a large corporation until my internship with Victoria’s Secret. I always thought there was a simple set-up of jobs and teams within companies. However, the truth of the fact is that there is a team for literally everything. There is a team for copy, creative, procurement, email planning, and even traffic. And each employee on every team has their plate full with work—I didn’t even realize that that amount of work existed.
I’m very grateful for my internship experience because of how much I was truly able to learn and grow as a marketing student and business professional. Although my day to day tasks revolved around email planning, I was tasked with other projects that allowed me to develop marketing skills in other areas such as: in-store, paid media, organic media and influencer marketing. I was assigned a mini project to competitively pattern a brand in the sports apparel industry, and I was tasked with a main intern project focused on analyzing the internal landscape of Victoria’s Secret’s marketing collateral and comparing it to that of industry trends.
My main project allowed me to grow the most. It required that I led a project with cross-functional teams to collect data and insights on the production costs and sales data of all VS Marketing Collateral from 2014-present. This meant that I called meetings, set the agenda, and assigned deliverables to various teams—me as an intern! This project not only taught me collaborative skills and how to run productive meetings, but I was also able to learn so much outside of marketing. By working with the Procurement Team, I was able to learn a lot about print and press; by working with the Offer Management Team, I was able to learn how they calculated total sales, incremental sales, profit, flow-through, and margin. By working with the Store Ops Team, I was able to learn about managing communication with store associates, and about the general management of our stores. And finally, my project improved my presentation skills. I had never given an hour-long presentation before to anyone, much less multiple Vice Presidents within a multimillion-dollar company. My intern presentation was probably the most stressful task I had ever been assigned, and it is also probably the one task I’ve worked the hardest on in my lifetime. I’m proud to say that my presentation and project went extremely well, and that it could potentially influence our marketing plans going forward.
On top of all of the in-depth information I learned, I also formed valuable connections with employees across multiple teams during my 12-week long project. This aspect is especially crucial because it allowed me to better understand how all the teams work together to support the overall business. Aside from this holistic understanding of the business, by working with these teams of people with various backgrounds, I was able to discover what my career interests are. For example, I thought the Store Ops Team would be my dream job upon initially being introduced to them because I was envious of the fact that they got to travel so much. But after working with them, I realized how truly demanding their jobs can be. The biggest takeaway is— Marketing Strategy is my true home, and I definitely picked the right major.
Not only did I transform and develop in terms of learning material and discovering my career interests, but I also developed in terms of gaining responsibility and accountability. For example, my direct supervisor, Caitlin, recently took a vacation to Ireland and left me with most of her responsibilities. During the week that she was gone, people were reaching out to me with questions and deliverables, and I was able to experience a full-time employee’s work load and schedule.
Furthermore, my internship experience was transformation because I was able to interact with senior-level leaders. Lbrands does a great job of inviting senior-level leaders to speak at Intern Speaker Series, at which these leaders are able to share their background and how they got to where they are today. And fortunately, because I work on the same floor as the Victoria’s Secret CEO, I was able to speak with her on a few occasions (just run-ins at the bathroom, nothing too important). I was also able to meet our new CMO when she came into our office to meet our marketing teams. These interactions helped transform me because I was able to gain advice from successful businesspeople, and it also helped shape my career goals. These interactions not only motivated and inspired me, but it helped me set a new goal for myself of becoming a Vice President of Marketing at a company in the future.
In summary, my STEP Signature Project was truly transformation for me both professionally and personally. Professionally, I was able to learn so much about marketing before I even took my first marketing class in school. I’m really excited to begin my marketing classes because I will actually be able to understand and relate to the content taught in our classes from a business standpoint. Not only was I able to gain a deeper understanding of all areas of marketing from my internship, I was also able to learn so much outside of marketing and understand how large corporations are run. Aside from learning content, I was able to develop my business acumen, accountability, time management skills, and collaborative abilities. But most important of all, through all of my interactions with my Marketing Team, other teams, and senior leaders, I can confidently say that I chose the right major and the right career path. This is an incredibly reassuring feeling to have as I enter into my junior year of college. I know multiple students who say during their internships that they dislike their jobs, or that they’re unsure if they picked the right major. This is why internships are so valuable—it truly helps students discover their passions.
Personally, my STEP Signature Project was transformation just because it was truly my first glimpse into “adult life” or life after graduation. This summer was my first time living on my own, in the first house I’ve ever subleased or rented. Aside from the actual internship, I had to learn to manage things such as rush hour commutes, cooking for myself, paying rent and utility bills, etc. I was also able to experience the schedule of a full-time young professional, which is significantly different from the schedule of a full-time college student. My STEP Signature Project helped to prepare me for life after graduation, and it helped me gain a better understanding of what to expect in the business world.
In terms of the future, my STEP Signature Project influenced my career goals and company interests. For example, as I’m currently in search of next summer’s internship, I already have a better understanding of what companies or industries I am and am not interested in. Even more so, if given the opportunity, I can picture myself working full-time at Lbrands after graduation. None of these realizations and self-discoveries would have been possible without the Second-Year Transformational Experience Program. I am entirely grateful for the opportunities this program provided me because it has helped shaped who I am today, and who I hope to be in the future.