When Erin Minck, ’20, stepped foot on the University of Richmond campus, she already knew she wanted to intern at Ann Taylor.

“I knew the program was only for rising seniors and recent graduates, but I asked to do an informational interview anyway,” Minck said.

She met with marketing representatives from Ann Inc, a subsidiary of Ascena Retail Group encompassing Ann Taylor, LOFT, and Lou & Grey. But they weren’t just ‘get to know you’ meetings.

“I did my background research and created a social media proposal for them,” Minck said. “You want to notice where the brand has been and how they’ve evolved, and capitalize on future opportunities you see.”

Her ideas stood out, because she kept in touch with the people she met three years ago, and this summer she secured the internship.

“They said they picked me because they could tell I had a really good grasp of the brand, and passion the industry,” Minck said.

Minck, president of University of Richmond’s  American Marketing Association collegiate chapter, was inspired by another member of the organization, Alison Schaffir, ‘18, who had recently secured a position at the company. 

“It was really reassuring, that even before I interviewed, they already had a favorable impression of me because of my informational interviews and my connection with Alison,” Minck said. “I really attribute that to AMA, and that’s why I value the organization so much, and put so much into my role as president.”

Minck’s brand knowledge and foresight helped her lead projects for Ann Taylor’s social media team this summer. She recommended new influencers for upcoming product features and ways in which the brand should leverage Pinterest. Minck said her favorite part of the internship was designing a new workwear line with her fellow interns.

“We were asked how Ann Taylor could acquire new customers aged 35-49. My team used customer insights to “rework” the workwear market. Throughout this project, I got exposure to all aspects of the product life cycle. Presenting it to the Executive Leadership team was an amazing experience that showed how much Ann cares about its interns,” Minck said.

But she’s not the only one who received an internship at a major retail company in New York.

Hanna Lankler, ’20, secured a spot in the Bloomingdale’s summer internship program as a buying intern with the cosmetics team.

“I shadowed assistant buyers and supported them by pulling data on consumer demand, trends, and sales,” Lankler said. “I had the opportunity to join them in meetings with various brands, learning about the industry and the relationship between retailers and vendors.”

She worked on two intern projects throughout the summer addressing key business challenges. She says her experience working on group projects in the Robins School helped her group succeed. 

“The Robins School has taught me to emerge as a leader, to always support others, and to collaborate to achieve the best possible result. It has taught me the importance of passion and playing to win, and motivated me to always aim to go above and beyond,” Lankler said.

Though interning in the buying department was a risk, she says, she knew she wanted to explore a career that focused on understanding the consumer, but was driven by analyzing financial data. And she leaned on her professors from both every department to help her succeed throughout the summer.

“I owe so much credit to my Marketing Research class with Professor Carlson. He helped me organize a focus group for one of my summer projects to fill in the blanks for some patterns that the numbers couldn't account for,” Lankler said. “The Excel skills I refined with assignments given by Professor Arnold in Principles of Financial Management, my ability to get into the minds of consumers I mastered with Professor Bergman in Principles of Marketing, and everything that I needed to understand about economic trends affecting the retail industry I learned in Principles of Macroeconomics with Professor Mehkari. That is just to name a few. And they all played a part in me thriving this summer, and being offered a job with Bloomingdale’s.” 

She is set to become an assistant buyer at the company next fall.

“I felt like I really found a career I could be excited about. Retail is fast-paced and constantly changing,” Lankler said. “I have always loved the fashion and beauty industries, and to be immersed in them, constantly learning about and evolving with them, is a dream for me.”

In addition to Minck and Lankler, Alex Carroll, ’20, interned at Lilly Pulitzer this summer. Amy Littleson, ’17, is a Public Relations and Influencer Marketing Senior Associate at the company. You can find out more about our successful internship programs through our Center for Professional Skills and Development.