In this “Internship Experience” blog post series, we will be featuring the profile and thoughts of our students from Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management as they reflect on their internship experience over the last year.
Name: Jenna Fusco
Graduation Year: 2022
Majors: Supply Chain Management (WHIT) / Economics (MAX) / History (MAX)
Hometown: Massapequa, NY
Internship Company/Title: Kohl’s Corporation – Strategic Sourcing Intern in Women’s Knit Tops
Describe your position and some of your daily tasks?
The Kohl’s Sourcing department is based around costing events and therefore was extremely project-based. During these costing events, some of my daily tasks included helping to answer vendors’ questions regarding costing for specific SKUs, pulling and analyzing data from previous events, and helping my team create pivot tables to insert into slide decks.
How did you land your internship?
I first found my internship by searching on Handshake for opportunities that were in the retail industry, as I knew I wanted to intern in this field. After initially applying, there were two rounds of interviews in which I expressed my interest in the retail industry and especially the world of sourcing. I spoke about experiences from my time at Syracuse University and expressed to the hiring managers that I wanted to work in retail because of the fast-paced environment and how things are so quickly changing and evolving.
What did you learn from your internship experience?
While I learned a lot from my time at Kohl’s, I would say the biggest takeaway I have from this internship experience is the importance of being a good communicator. Whether that is with your team, manager, peers or cross-functional partners, you must know how to communicate your thoughts effectively in a meeting or written communication. My coach over the summer told me that the most important thing to know when it comes to reaching out to colleagues is two things: who to ask and what to ask. After you determine the answers to these questions, someone will be able to direct you to any answer that you may be seeking.
In terms of technical skills that I learned this summer, I was able to work on a vendor tiering project to test out new metrics for scoring vendors. This project allowed me to pull pivot tables to see vendors’ country of production strategy, determine how much spend a vendor does with the company and research vendors’ sustainable attributes. Being able to work on a project that greatly impacted the company and how vendors would be tiered going forward was a phenomenal experience and gave me the real-world experience that everyone wants in any internship.
Has your experience changed your plans or career choice when you leave college?
No. If anything, it solidified my plans more as I always had an interest in retail and my experience this summer just confirmed that interest even more.
How will your internship experience help you after graduation?
The internship program provided me with an extensive number of courses in retail math, buying, planning, materials and costing that provided me with the knowledge that is extremely transferable across multiple industries. Almost any company that produces a product sources materials for that good – whether that be yarn and fabric or wood and steel – materials are needed to produce products. Kohl’s provided me with opportunities to learn how to negotiate costs for these materials with vendors that provide the customer with the best possible product at the best cost. These are skills and concepts that I know will help me in my career post-graduation as I embark into the workforce.
How has the Whitman School prepared you for your internship?
Since my first year, Whitman has provided me with numerous opportunities that have led me to be successful and feel prepared to start my internship this past June. By placing such a huge emphasis on group projects and collaborate in all Whitman classes, prepared me for my internship as most projects that are assigned to you in the workforce will involve working with others. Whether that group consists of your team members or cross-functional partners, you can work and communicate well with others in order to produce an excellent deliverable.
What did you enjoy most about your experience?
It may sound cliche, but what I enjoyed most about my experience this summer were the people, specifically my team and fellow sourcing intern class. I am a firm believer in the expression that “the people make the place” and it truly was the people at Kohl’s that made my experience so memorable. Being able to collaborate on four projects over the summer with the five other sourcing interns and present them to upper management was something that I won’t forget. Additionally, being able to make a meaningful contribution to my team during RFQ events and assisting my coach in analyzing costing data was great exposure as well.
Do you have any advice for students who are looking for an internship?
Apply to any and every position that sparks your interest! Research companies on Handshake, LinkedIn and company websites to find out if what the company values match your values. Additionally, do not be afraid to put yourself out there and take advantage of any opportunity that comes your way.