For my STEP Signature Project, I completed a six-month internship at L Brands in Columbus, OH. I worked on a Supply Chain Planning and Analytics team, where I balanced supply and demand for beauty products for Victoria’s Secret, Bath and Body Works, and La Senza. Each day consisted of communicating with vendors, as well as creating and running exception reporting for my team. This allowed us to catch any gaps in the supply chain, such as over-allocations or late shipments.
Before completing this internship, I was unsure about what field I wanted to pursue with an Industrial and Systems Engineering degree. I had never thought about retail or the fashion industry before, but this experience made me love it. The faced paced work environment was exciting to me. With new floor sets launching about every 3 weeks, there was never a slow day. I had the opportunity to work at L Brands during the holiday season, which is the peak season where about 40% of business occurs. I was faced with many obstacles, which allowed me to learn a lot in a short period of time.
I originally thought a data-based position would seclude me from interacting with others, but this position proved my assumption wrong. I love interpersonal relationships, so picking an engineering degree that would prevent me from working with others was a concern of mine. My internship allowed me to work with many cross-functional teams within the business, as well as coordinate the timing and product we were shipping with our production vendors. I was constantly communicating, learning, and building relationships in my position. This experience changed the way I viewed an Industrial and Systems job.
One project I spent most my time on throughout my internship was systemically segregating the Bath and Body Works inventory between stores and the e-commerce channel. I first began learning the overall process from one of my own team members. From there, I began identifying the holes in the process where improvements could be made. I worked with the inventory deployment team, who also relied on this segregation database. I helped them understand how the process worked, and how their actions could help positively impact the database to reduce error. There was a lot of back and forth communication and relationships that were built between the two teams. This experience was a key event that transformed my assumption about my major.
Another key part of my job was building relationships with the vendors outside of L Brands. My role was to send 4-5 vendors a detailed plan each day including what items they would be shipping, what quantities we needed them to ship, and where the product was to be sent. These decisions were made based on the current state of supply and demand in the network. After using the data available to make these decisions, I was working closely with the vendors to ensure they properly executed this plan. Building these relationships was a key part to ensure deadlines were met for the brands. It was transformational to see how much can be accomplished simply through building these outside relationships.
This experience assured me that Industrial and Systems Engineering is the major and career path I want to pursue. I got to experience how to apply both technical engineering skills and interpersonal skills in a work environment. I went into this internship enjoying my course work at Ohio State, but this experience will allow me to learn even more in the classroom by relating to situations from the professional world. This internship led me to the retail field, which I may not have considered for a full-time job. I now know how fitting this environment is for my personality, and I believe this experience will lead me to career where I am happy.