Applying to internships as a sophomore in college is not the easiest of tasks. Most companies are looking for students who are going into their senior year in order to possibly recruit new hires and shape an individual before they apply to be full time in the company. This is a little synopsis of what to expect at an internship with one of the biggest players in supply chain management.
For me, I was not in the financial position to work unpaid for the entire summer. We all want that spending money am I right? So on a whim, I applied to one internship that I found while I was procrastinating my homework of course. It was for the interiors department at Li and Fung. As a fashion student it is important to not limit yourself and experience other creative outlets such as interiors or the beauty industry, so I went for it. Li and Fung is a HUGE player in the fashion industry as well as being one of the top supply chain management companies in the world. I was shocked that I was up for the job considering my age and lack of prior internship experience. There is one thing that I did have and it was the passion and the drive to succeed. I took that with me on my interview which ended up finishing with an offer! Living on Long Island opens great opportunities to commute into New York City with ease and intern at bigger corporate offices, so I was excited to take advantage of my location.
With a mixture of terror and overwhelming excitement I started my first day! The culture of the company was nothing that I expected. The people were unbelievably welcoming to me and all of the other interns which made for a comforting atmosphere. As an intern it is important to reach out to as many industry leaders as possible to not only make connections but gain necessary information for career choices.
The Li and Fung Internship program is very interactive and never pushes students to do invaluable tasks. The program is geared to allow the students to grow and achieve the most out of the experience that they can. With weekly workshops with each department, I was able to gain knowledge not just of my specific area, but all departments in the company. The company is sustainably driven as well as charitable which was a huge plus for me! They even take the interns out for a day to volunteer at a soup kitchen and prepare food for those in need.
The interns are always given a project to work on collaboratively each year and must present it to the top professionals in the global company. I have met amazing people, made great connections, and learned more about where I see myself in the future than ever before. As well as completing our own department tasks, we were asked to create a marketing plan for a new start-up company. Presenting this 7 week long project to not just to a large group of employees, but to the head of LF Americas herself. This was an amazing experience because I was able to showcase a more creative side of my work ethic and have something to add to my portfolio that was valuable to the start of a growing company.
In my particular department, we work with interiors from brands such as Elle Decor, Tommy Hilfiger, and many more. We work with big name stores and are capable of handling many aspects of the supply chain for them. The ability to be apart of organizing fabrics and samples, and even help in the creative process was an eye opening experience into deciding where I want to be in my career in the future.
If you are on the hunt for a paid internship in NYC, I highly recommend looking at the Li and Fung Internship program! It is unlike many other opportunities because of the pure willingness to help from other employees in each department. They are always rooting for your success which is everything that I had hoped for and more. It feels great knowing that I have a community of people on my side in this crazy world of business. From interiors, to private label work, packaging design, to the new innovation of 3D technology, Li and Fung has it all. The culture of the company is what made the internship truly fulfilling and gave me some excitement to put myself out there and reach for the stars.
Tips for a successful internship search:
- Apply everywhere, even if you are unsure of yourself.
- Keep a list of all of your applications with contacts so you never lose track
- Look for paid internships because you deserve it
- Follow up! This is the most important when keeping connections and staying relevant
Tips for a successful internship experience:
- Know that it is ok the mess up because they honestly expect it
- Talk to everyone even if it feels awkward - you never want to miss out on opportunities
- Push yourself out of your comfort zone
- LEARN EXCEL ASAP - you will be blindly thrown into it and yes it will be scary :)
- Have self confidence and trust that you will make a valuable addition to their team
It is always important to remember that you are valuable and should not be treated any different in an internship experience. Know that you have to prove yourself in the company, but always trust that you can do it. It is easy to feel self conscious about your abilities because you will most likely be the youngest one there, but remember that everyone has something different to bring to the table, especially the fresh young face. Be innovative and show the team that you are not afraid to give fresh ideas. Most internships are geared to gain insight on what the younger generations are all about in the work environment, so they are learning from you too!
My last tip is to not take things too seriously and enjoy the experience because you were hired for a reason, so trust the process. Thanks for reading about my experience and happy hunting!
April Ann :)