Pursuing my dream in the Big Apple

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I may have been born and raised in Indiana, but I’m a big city girl at heart. This summer I got to pursue my dream in the Big Apple.

Growing up, I can remember watching movies like The Devil Wears Prada and 13 Going on 30, imagining myself as part of that fast-paced, big city life. So, with my dream in mind, I decided to apply for a summer internship at Macy’s Inc. This particular internship was for their buying and planning. After two interviews with Macy’s and a multitude of critical thinking and retail math exams, I got the job!!

Now it was time for me to find a place to live, and time for me to convince my parents that I would be okay out there on my own.

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Macy's and the Empire State Building in New York, New York.

After months of searching, I finally solidified my apartment in a five-floor walk-up in the East Village. Shortly after, I got my placement call and found out I would be one of five interns working in financial planning – a new role to the company.

As the excitement and nerves cultivated, the next thing I knew, I was on a plane and moving myself to New York City. Upon arrival, I couldn’t have been more thrilled (except when I realized that I’d have to carry my sixty pound suitcases up five flights of stairs…I’m not nearly as strong as I look). A few days later, I started my first day at Macy’s and what would be the best experience of my life.

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A group of Macy's interns. Shelby Caulk

In my role as a financial planner, I was able to work on the upcoming season’s sales plans, margin targets, markups, buying allowance, and basically everything that makes up the company’s performance goals for the season. Financial planners work all the way from an individual vendor’s goals up to the entire division’s plans.

Not only did I get to experience the day-to-day responsibilities of a financial planner, but the company also provided a glimpse into the history and tradition that Macy’s is known for. During our second week, we were able to travel to the Macy’s Parade Studio (where the magic really begins).

We got to see some of the floats and balloons for the upcoming 90th anniversary of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, how they’re made, and the thousands and thousands of costumes that go into making the parade as special as possible. They set up a conference with all of the interns and the current CEO of Macy’s, Terry Lundgren, and I also got to personally meet with the CFO, Karen Hoguet.

Macy’s is known for how they respect and appreciate their employees and they definitely lived up to their reputation. They made me feel like part of their family, which was one of my favorite things about the entire program.

As the internship was coming to an end, each intern was evaluated by the HR team. I was shocked to see how closely they were reviewing candidates that were only there for two and a half months. They were evaluating all 140 interns this year to choose those that fit the company model and the ones they felt would excel at Macy’s.

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Shelby and friend on the Brooklyn Bridge. Shelby Caulk