Internship Experience: Kylie Maher, Merchandising Intern at Saks Fifth Avenue

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 return from summer internships.

Name: Kylie Maher
Graduation Year: May 2020
Major(s): Finance / Marketing Management 
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Intern Company/Title: Saks Fifth Avenue – Merchandising Intern

Describe your position and some of your daily tasks? 
As a merchandising intern reporting to the Associate Buyer for Home & Gift at Saks Fifth Avenue, my responsibilities included both daily tasks and more involved projects. A typical day could comprise analyzing sales reports to identify and implement new product strategies, conducting market research, using research to make recommendations to increase store traffic or going to ‘market’ to select and purchase merchandise. I also had an opportunity to collaborate with a small group of associates on a corporate initiative to incorporate both fashion and art into a marketing strategy that we presented to senior leadership at the end of the summer.

The eight-week program also incorporated classroom training that focused on professional growth, exposure to diverse functional areas within the company, and the opportunity to interact with and learn from senior executives.  

How did you land your internship?
I met a Saks recruiter at the Whitman Career Fair last fall. I believe that my previous internship at Wells Fargo stood out to the recruiter and after two phone interviews, I was offered the internship. I believe that my Whitman education, combined with my previous internship and work experiences were key to landing the internship.

What did you learn from your internship experience?
I discovered the importance of networking and maintaining professional relationships. You never know when your skills could be beneficial to others in your network and lead to unique career opportunities. I also learned the value of spreadsheet skills and was shocked by how much I used Excel in my internship. Excel proficiency will give anyone a competitive advantage across a range of industries.

Has your experience changed your plans or career choice when you leave college?
Before last summer I was a Wealth and Investment Management Intern at Wells Fargo Advisors. I loved the program but wanted to explore a different industry to diversify my skillset and professional experience. My internship at Saks Fifth Avenue continued to help me identify my personal skills and interests and narrow down career paths that I feel I would excel in.

How will your internship experience help you after graduation?
My internship provided me with a valuable, real-world experience that continued my professional growth. I developed Excel, communication and problem-solving skills that I believe will help me after graduation. I expanded my professional network and kept in touch with many individuals I met last summer. I believe these connections could lead to future career opportunities. 

How has the Whitman School prepared you for your internship?
Since my first year, Whitman has provided me with the skills and knowledge I needed to flourish at this internship. The IMPRESS events, Excel certification and general education at Whitman are all tools that prepared me for both of my past internships.

What did you enjoy most about your experience?
My favorite part of my experience was working in an industry that I am passionate about. Being surrounded by people who I share the same interests with motivated me to do my best every single day and made for a very fun work environment. I also loved living in New York City for the summer!

Do you have any advice to students who are looking for an internship?
I would advise students to start their internship search early and know application deadlines.  Attending career fairs can be very beneficial in your search, as you never know what opportunities could arise from these events. I have found speaking with family, friends, college advisors and alumni can be helpful to connect you with internship experiences as well.

Kimmy Kimball