American Eagle Outfitters welcomed 60 interns for Summer 2013. Meet ten interns currently working in Aerie and AE.com merchandising! Read on to learn more about the interns and what it’s like to work at American Eagle.
Why did you apply for an internship at American Eagle?
I didn’t know I was interested in merchandising right off the bat. I knew I wanted to work in retail, and I heard a lot of great things about American Eagle’s internship program. Anyone I talked to said it was very structured, very organized and you got to interact with a lot of executives and network. So from a business perspective, I would gain a lot of experience. -Vaidehi T.
I started working in the AE stores when turned 16 until my junior year of college. I saw the brand change from the basic jean or graphic tee American Eagle to what it is now… quite different. Along with that, I had intended to work in corporate fashion for a long time. AE was the company I started with and wanted to stick with! -Erika L.
What did you hope to get out of this internship?
Since I don’t have a background in merchandising or business – I’m a policy major! – what I really wanted out of this internship was real hands-on experience in merchandising and buying to prepare me for my first real world job. I’ve been exposed to all aspects of the business. I’ve sat in important meetings, talked to top-level executives and most of the tasks I’ve had directly pertain to the business and are often things that entry-level assistant buyers have to do. -Priscilla Y.
What’s something about working at American Eagle that you didn’t expect?
I really like how you can have access to everybody. The second day we were pulling weeds with the CEO of the company. There’s not that level of “you’re below me, you shouldn’t be talking to me or trying to communicate with me,” so I think the openness of communication within the company is really great. – Chelsea S.
AE’s headquarters are in Pittsburgh, PA—what’s the coolest thing you’ve done in the city so far?
The coolest thing I’ve done in Pittsburgh is grow up here! Yinzers are one of a kind. –Erika L.
We went to Kennywood. It was a ton of fun. I expected it to be some small, little amusement park but it was just like going out and riding rides and walking around and having a good time with a bunch of the other interns. Then we had the BBQ and got to eat good food with a bunch of different associates. It was a really good mix of interns, associates and people from the distribution center. –Courtney O.
I have totally explored through food, which for me, is what I do anywhere I go. I found a lot of good restaurants, which has been fun and you also get to see different areas that way. So that’s been my way of getting out. Picolo Forno and BRGR are really good. -Corina L.
How do you “Live Your Life”?
I like adventurous things. I went skydiving last summer. -Vaidehi T.
I love going and meeting new people and exploring new cultures and meeting new people. If you can do it with friends, that’s even better. -Courtney O.
I live my life by hanging out with my friends and attending concerts. I love to be spontaneous and experience new things. -Megan D.
What’s your favorite AE or Aerie item?
Our Original taper jeans, which is my favorite men’s fit. I didn’t even know they existed until I started working here and bought it. The way they fit is the best of both worlds— you get the relaxed up top but then you get the skinny on the bottom. -Rocky C.
I’m obsessed with an army green vest. I wear it with everything. If I could wear it everyday without getting judged for it, I would. -Chelsea S.
I’ve been wearing my denim jacket way too much. I keep grabbing it on my way out at the last second and then it’s cold in the office so I end up wearing it all day. -Corina L.
What’s one aspect of merchandising that surprised you?
The numbers piece. I expected it to be very business-based, but I think people underestimate how much analytic thinking goes into it and how much you have to understand the numbers and the business. It’s not just the creative trends .-Rocky C.
I think with AE.com I was surprised how much marketing we have a direct relationship with on the site. We have that marketing aspect along with merchandising so that was really cool for me as a marketing major with a merchandising minor, to be able to put the two together. -Claire C.
What’s been your favorite part of the internship?
My favorite part has been the link between the financials and the product because I know I have an interest in math and financials, and in the past I’ve worked jobs where it’s just financials. The fact that it leads to the product and that’s the end result just makes it so fun and more exciting to come to work every day. -Maria B.
My favorite part of the internship was our second day when we got to experience State of the Place. It was really cool to learn all about the company and see where they stand and of course the fashion show was amazing as well! -Megan D.
Did you receive any good advice during the internship?
I actually just had a meeting with Rachel K., Claire’s mentor, and she told me just to take advantage of the time we get to have with executives. They are people with such busy schedules and are moving back and forth all over the country. The fact that they’re spending an hour of their time with us is something that is a huge deal. -Maria B.
Any advice for future intern candidates?
My advice would be put your name out there and get to know everybody. My department is shoes but that doesn’t mean I should be in shoes the entire time. It’s okay to wander over to tops and shadow someone else or go to chain and see what they’re doing. If you get hired here, you’re going to cycle around and know the business as a whole. -Claire C.
Always be developing a point of view. You want to be focused, up on competition, know what we’re doing well, what we can improve on. Always be ready to give your voice when it’s needed. -Courtney O.
To learn more about American Eagle Outfitters’ internship program, please visit liveyourlifeloveyourjob.com.