By Bryce Schuler
Bryce Schuler is working this summer as a corporate merchandising intern at Walmart.
We found this internship through the UA student organization Enactus. My friends James, Sergio and I (pictured from right to left) were encouraged to apply by an Eller and Enactus alumni who advocated for us with Walmart’s recruiters. We went through a two-stage interview process: first, an in-person interview and then an aptitude test. A couple of weeks letter we were offered the positions in merchandising.
The focuses of this merchandising internship are to learn about the business, networking within it and achieve our summer project objectives. Our projects were real issues faced within our departments and at the end for the summer we each presented on what we had found and accomplished to leadership.
The internship is very dynamic and doesn’t include any daily repetitive tasks. Besides project work, other activities included participating in meetings with suppliers, touring stores, analyzing data to gain insight on opportunities, networking around the business, attending department strategy meetings and some intern training classes.
A couple of highlights include:
1: The first two weeks: With no background in retail I learned so much so quickly! It felt like I was “drinking from a fire hose” for the first week but then the learning curve leveled out.
2: Flight on the corporate jet: Flew to Nashville TN to look over competitive grocery retailers and see what we could do to improve our business.
3: Presenting my work: I received a lot of support and resources in executing my project. Presenting my findings to leaders on the grocery side of the business was very rewarding.
A lot of the time, your sponsor is busy (you know, doing their actual job) so they can’t manage your every move. It’s important to be self-motivated and try to add value where you can without being prompted.
I’ve learned a lot about the retail deli business but also I’ve learned about people, their careers and how they got to where they are now. That’s valuable as I near starting my career.
I’ve learned of the important skill of influencing, which is, leading people to do things rather than pushing them by communicating a common goal. That’s what the buyer’s role is all about and it’s an amazing skill to watch and practice.
Eller has given me an appreciation for making decisions with data, logic and critical thinking. All of those are vital to making decisions that you can have confidence in when presenting to leadership and that’s been invaluable in this experience.
Top photo courtesy Bryce Schuler.