Last year, we profiled Mari DaRos and learned all about her internship experience at Kroger Co. Mari graduated with a B.B.A in Marketing in Spring 2018, and now this newly-minted Pilot alum is working as an Assistant Buyer for Kroger! Read about Mari’s internship experience below, then hear from her in person at the Career Center’s Kroger Info Session on Tuesday, October 30th.
Rising senior, Mari DaRos, is a Business Marketing student with a fresh view on merchandising through her summer internship at Kroger Co. Utilizing the UP Career Center to help grab her exciting internship, Mari has refined important skills that employers are eager to have in new college grad employees. Open-minded, positive and full of tips, we asked Mari to share her experience at Kroger Co.
What is your summer internship title and responsibilities?
I was a 2017 General Merchandise Summer Intern in the Photo Electronics Department. I worked under the buyer for Audio, Camera, Camera Accessories, and Photo Printing. Each week I had regular tasks that included reviewing the last week’s sales both independently and in comparison to history. It was my challenge to discover the source of any major differences and record those causes for future use or improvement. I spent the rest of my time taking a deep dive into the Fred Meyer photo printing business – FM PhotoShare – in order to find areas of opportunity and create strategy around that opportunity to improve long-term sales. In order to complete this project, I conducted research by reaching out to our vendors and finding partners in the company to better understand the industry and the business. With this information, I created a four-part marketing plan that I could hand off to my supervisor for potential implementation.
Why did you apply for this internship?
I went into business in order to have a customer-facing career – a career where I knew my efforts were directly affecting someone else down the line. Most of my prior experience has been in retail and as a result, I knew that this sector fulfilled that desire. I decided to apply for the Kroger Co. internship because I saw it as an opportunity to expand my knowledge of retail and develop real world merchandising skills.
How did you find out about this internship?
I found out about this internship through the Career Center! The talent acquisition specialist from Kroger reached out to the business schools in the state to find applicants and conduct interviews. After attending an information night with an HR representative, I decided to apply for a position.
What has been your favorite moment as an intern?
During my time at Kroger, I had the opportunity to pitch some of my ideas to a senior level manager as well as to the entire General Merchandise Group. This was an amazing opportunity to close up all the work I did over the 10 weeks and record the fruits of my labor. The other Kroger associates were quick to offer insightful and experience based feedback. That open conversation between intern and associate allowed for the critical conversations that need to take place for our professional development. The fact that we were given this opportunity shows that the decision makers of this company value us despite being interns. I feel so thankful for all of the people who advocated for us and celebrated in our successes.
Why do you believe internships are important for undergraduate students?
I think it’s important to remember that you’re not only trying out a potential job title, but also a potential employer. What kind of company culture do you think you want? What kind of company structure do you think you want? How collaborative/independent do you want your work life to be? Do you value more traditional or more forward thinking companies? Internships are an opportunity to find out what you are really looking like in order to ensure a healthy future work life.
What tips do you have for students wanting an internship?
Take as many opportunities as possible to meet new people who are looking for interns.
Offer to meet with potential employers in person – my offers multiplied once I had a chance to converse with them one on one.
Start early – the first applications and interviews will be practice and the later will come naturally!
What other experiences have made your time at UP unique? (professors, study abroad, clubs)
I highly recommend that business students consider studying another language. When you’re taking these classes, you’re exposed to different cultures and histories. Opening yourself to other worlds can help you make better, more informed decisions as a business leader.
What are your plans after you graduate?
After graduation I would like to stay in the area. I hope to either start a career in merchandising using the skills I developed this summer or explore other avenues of marketing and business like market research.
If you’re interested in having an internship at Kroger Co. like Mari, come to the info session on October 30th!