American Eagle Outfitters welcomed 60 interns for Summer 2013. Meet eight interns currently working in Human Resources, Store Operations, Legal and Supply Chain! 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 applied because I knew it would be something that would not only help me develop my career path but also it would be a fun environment and a way to really learn about the company and what I want to do for my future.” –Bethany S.
“I worked in an AE store for two and a half years and always loved the company’s aesthetic and what they really valued. You could really tell how much they valued all of their employees. That was what drove me to look into the program.” -Christina D.
“I felt like this company was really going to be able to test my knowledge of supply chain by giving me a project where I had a ton of leeway to do what I wanted with it. With my internship last summer, I felt like I had not been challenged enough. This also gave me a great chance to meet all the different types of people that work in a warehouse and understand how to build relationships with them.” -Andrew B.
What did you hope to get out of this internship?
“I hoped to get really great experience and to find out a little more about the company and what I might be interested in doing in the future and also find out more about myself. I hoped to develop not only my skills but my character and values along with what the company believes.” –Sarah L.
“I hoped to get more clarity on what I want to do and where I fit in in the corporate world as well as finding myself and developing key traits that carry you into your professional career, along with meeting some great people who could influence and mentor me along the way.” -Bethany S.
“I wanted to see where I would fit in the corporate world. I dragged my feet forever on picking a major, then I kind of got stuck in communications. I think everyone has that stereotype that communications majors don’t really do anything, and having an internship in store ops has really helped me see all the things that you can do with a communications major. It’s definitely broader than I thought.” –Lauren M.
What’s something about working at American Eagle that you didn’t expect?
“In internships I’ve had in the past, your voice wasn’t really valued as much as I think it is here at AE. They tell us all the time to share our opinions and that we are the age of the target market so they want to know exactly what we think. It’s been really great to have your voice heard to a high degree. I was surprised in a really good way.” –Sarah L.
“One thing I wasn’t expecting was the amount of real life work you’re given. With an internship you kind of think you’re doing smaller tasks that don’t really have a big impact on the company. I was shocked at the amount of tasks I’ve been given that actually do have an impact and they’re actually contributing to corporate strategy.” -Bethany S.
“I agree that they value the interns here, even with having the roundtables with executives. We even have one at the end with Robert Hanson, the CEO. I think that kind of shows the value they place in the interns and us really being the future of the company.” –Christina D.
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 was definitely riding the incline. It’s basically this tram ride up the side of a mountain and you get to see all of Pittsburgh. When I came to Pittsburgh, everyone called it a city, but it’s not compact. It’s so hilly and you have to drive everywhere and there are bridges out the wazoo. It’s very scenic and very picturesque and I was sort of able to see that while I was on the incline.” -Christina D.
“I am a huge Pittsburgh Pirates fan so going to the games have been awesome.” -Andrew B.
“I would say that even though I’m from Pittsburgh, it’s been cool exploring and experiencing the city with people that are not. We’ve been able to do a lot of things to show the beauty of the city and the sports town but also the scenic, arts, and foodie things. Just showing the diversity of Pittsburgh to people from out of town has been fun.” -Sarah L.
How do you “Live Your Life”?
“I live my life by learning to be more adventurous. I started off being one of those people who always had to go with someone to a location or event, but between studying abroad and being here, I’ve learned to be able to do things on my own and have fun while doing it.” -Christina
“I live my life for horseback riding. I’ve been doing it for 14 years and that’s my time away from everything. I go out to the barn for two hours. It’s really great. It’s something I’m very passionate about.” -Lauren
“I guess I live my life for me, focusing on what I want out of life and my dreams and goals and not letting anybody’s opinion stand in the way of that. I want to get the most out of life because you only live it once.” -Bethany
What’s your favorite AE or Aerie item?
“My favorite is by far the Aerie bralette It’s so comfortable that I bought every color after I got my first one because I loved it so much. I literally wear it all the time and never wear an actual bra. They look really cute under tanks and tees.” -Christina D.
“I’m going to be very cliché and say our jeans. It’s the one thing I always buy of our clothing. Our jeans are great. They fit everyone well, they are so comfortable, they come in great washes, they’re a great price point. They’re also the backbone of our brand.” -Lauren M.
“My favorite AE product is the skinny denim in extra-long, of course, because I’m so tall. Even though I have to order it, they still carry it online which is great. We really have jeans that fit all different types of shapes and sizes.” -Sarah L.
What’s one aspect of your specific department that surprised you?
“Whenever I first got the job, I had no idea what I would be doing on a day-to-day basis and it’s been really interesting since I work on the store experience team. Everything I do is based on communication toward the associates and being an associate myself, it’s cool to be on the opposite side and see how things get developed and planned and created and sent to stores.” -Lauren M.
“I am interning in recruiting for human resources and one thing that surprised me is interaction you have with people in the entire company. You’re kind of working with somebody from every department when you’re bringing a new candidate in. I didn’t expect to have such exposure to other areas in the company.” -Sarah L.
“I’m in the field HR department. When I first joined I thought everyone I would be working with would be based in Pittsburgh and that wasn’t true. I work with people in our New York office and in San Francisco as well. Conference calls are always interesting because you can tell where people are from based on the kinds of things they say. I got to meet everybody, including our Canada team.” –Bethany S.
“I was surprised by the amount of time that I am actually in the warehouse as opposed to just being in an office on a computer.” -Andrew B.
What’s been your favorite part of the internship?
“I would say my favorite part so far is definitely when we had a conference the first three weeks of our job. Christina and I did a lot of things for the regional director and district manager conference that was held at the Omni William Penn. That was really cool, doing all the decorations and the setup. It was like every girl’s Pinterest dream.”-Lauren
“I really like the building, the people, the food — and the fact that we can dress down.” -Buddy D.
“I would say that my favorite part so far is being in an associate training video. I remember watching them as an associate and thinking it would be so cool to be on one. If you’re outside of the store, you have no idea what we’re talking about when we say AEO TV. All the associates watch them before each shift so they can get a better idea of the new floor set coming up or better selling practices. I got my makeup done, my hair done and I had to come in early. The whole production crew was there and I had to read off of a teleprompter. Even though only our store associates will see it, I’ll still sign autographs if you want.” –Christina D.
Did you receive any good advice during the internship?
“One of the best advice that I’ve gotten so far was actually at from district manager conference and it was, “Give me someone who has passion and I can teach them anything”. That really stuck with me because I’m the type of person who wants to know how do to everything. It opened my eyes to see that you can learn anything, almost, as long as you have that passion. You don’t have to worry about having everything memorized and step by step instructions. As long as you have a passion for what you’re doing there’s no boundaries.” -Bethany S.
“Try to learn at least one thing about each of your coworkers whether that be their hobby, likes, dislikes, anything. That way, you always have something that you can talk about with them and help build relationships. Some of the least likely people can teach you the most.” -Andrew B.
“I’ve finally learned that people want to be advised. My mentor taught me that I should be simple, direct, and confident because people need direction and it makes things go smoothly.” -Buddy D.
“I had a self-evaluation with my mentor and we were talking about my strengths and weaknesses. My mentor is higher up in store ops so he as a lot of meetings with merchandising and visual, so he isn’t as his desk a lot of the time. I’ve had to be self-sufficient and find tasks to do and figure out programs on my own. He told me that that was definitely a strength and that was good, but I should also be careful because I could miss out on learning opportunities if I’m looking to myself too much.” –Christina D.
Any advice for future intern candidates?
“Do it. No, besides doing it, nudge your way in. I’ve had to push myself into different opportunities because my mentor is higher up. There are times when I’m just sitting at my desk, so I’ve asked him if I can sit in on Monday meetings that they have weekly. There was a new associate training in store ops so I piggybacked onto her and was able to train with a manager in store, which was very helpful.” – Christina D.
“Be an open book. Don’t have a list of things to do while you’re here. Just go into and be open to any experience and meeting any person whether you think it’s relevant to you or not because you learn something with each person that speak whether they directly or indirectly work with you. You can gain so much more.” -Bethany S.
To learn more about American Eagle Outfitters’ internship program, please visit liveyourlifeloveyourjob.com.