Ross Stores Internship: Alli McCluskey

Name: Allison McCluskeyalli

Year: Senior

Internship: Ross Stores Buyer Internship

Major: Business Administration – Global Supply Chain Management and Marketing, Minor in Legal Studies

How did you get this internship?

I learned about the Ross Stores internship program through the Amica Center! College recruiters were present at the fall career fair in 2014, I talked with them at the career fair and gave them my resume. A week later I was notified that I had been selected for a first round interview that took place on campus at the Amica Center, I then went to Ross Stores buying office in New York City for the final round and was offered a spot in the internship program.

What were your daily responsibilities at your internship?

As a buying intern I was in the buying office in NYC. I was placed in the home department and the buyer I reported to bought cotton sheets. At the beginning of my internship I had so much to learn about the product which at first I thought there couldn’t be much to cotton sheets. I had to learn about fabrics, thread counts, and what colors and prints were in style and were popular with the Ross customer. I was responsible for tracking and helping approve different samples of the actual product and the packaging from suppliers. I tracked orders from when they left the factory to when they got to Ross warehouses and then when they reached stores. I helped analyze and track the Item Sales Report that showed each SKU of the products in stores and how quickly they were turning, how much of the item was sold, and if items needed to be marked down at the end of the month. I was also responsible for actually putting through the orders, this was writing Purchase Orders.

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Becoming a student of the business was important as well, some days were designated to shopping in New York City looking for new trends in color, fabrics, and prints. Other days we did store visits to Ross Stores in New Jersey and during these days we would visit our competitor’s stores such as T.J. Maxx, Marshall’s, Home Goods, Big Lots, and Burlington Coat Factory. Most days we would leave the office for a few hours to go to suppliers show rooms and office in the city and pick out new products to buy from them. Taking suppliers to lunch or dinner was also something I was able to attend throughout the summer as well! While there were certain things I was responsible for doing daily there was also little “day to day” at this job, every day was different!

What was your favorite memory/experience at your internship?

It’s hard to pick just one of the amazing experiences I had during my internship. I was given the opportunity to have lunch with the CEO of the company, Barbara Rentler and a small group of other interns. As an intern it was such a great opportunity to listen to the CEO of the company’s insight on the company and the industry as well as her career advice for us. It was inspiring to me because Barbara Rentler is one of the few women who is a CEO of a fortune 500 company. I will never forget getting to meet her and the advice she shared with us.

What was the most challenging part of your internship?

The most challenging part of my internship was not having much of a background in retail. Many of the other interns were students at schools that offered fashion merchandising majors or classes that focused heavily on the business of retail.

How will this further your career?

The internship helped further my career because it helped me figure out exactly what I wanted to do after graduation. The experience showed me that working as a buyer is the right career for me and that I wanted to work in the fashion industry. I was offered a full time job as an Assistant Buyer at Ross and I will be going back upon graduation!

What is your best piece of advice for underclassmen?

The Amica Center is a great resource for getting jobs and internships! Whether it’s talking with employers there or having your resume critiqued it will help you further your preparedness for interviews and networking. Even though the career fair seems like a daunting event to attend, do it! You never know what opportunity you might find there.

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