Lara Miller is former Women’s Mentor Program President (2012-2013) and Senior Advisor (2013-2014) who just graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Industrial and Management Engineering in May 2014. She has been working at Ralph Lauren since graduation.
What internships/jobs have you had during your undergrad?
Major League Baseball Network (2011) -internship
Department of Defense (2012)-internship
Vera Bradley (2013)-internship
Ralph Lauren (2014) – full time position
How did you find these positions?
All of them were through persistence! A lot of applying to jobs online and seeing what happened. I used Linkedin as much as I could to find connections. The only one that I found a (vague) connection was for my current position.
What did you learn from the work experiences?
Major League Baseball Network (2011)
When I interned for Major League Baseball Network, I was still undecided about my major. This internship was specifically for broadcast engineering. So it was a lot of waiting to see if something went wrong and then fixing it. It also dealt with a lot of electrical work and computer engineering. I learned that this was not for me and that it was ok to try something and not like it!
Department of Defense (2012)
At the Department of Defense, I was doing project management for construction projects. The government moves pretty slow with work. (You always have to wait for someone to sign off on something or get the approved paperwork.) I learned from this that I enjoyed overall working with people, but I really wanted to do something more technical. I also learned I wanted to work in a fast paced environment.
Vera Bradley (2013)
Landing the Vera Bradley internship was one of the best things that happened in my professional career! I have loved this company for many years and I got to work in the distribution center. My project was to build a business plan and ROI model for a specific supply chain technology. I loved the atmosphere of the retail/fashion industry because there was always a new problem that needed to be solved! I learned that this was the industry I wanted to be in! (I also learned that I didn’t want to stay in the midwest!)
How did knowledge from your classes help you with your job
This one is a little hard to answer. I’m in an entry level position, and most of the people I am working with have marketing or fashion merchandising degrees so it’s completely different from engineering on a day to day level. My classes taught me how to problem solve and make processes more efficient. When I’m working on reports or analyzing sales or units to allocate, I’m trying to figure out the best strategy to take to make the best of the situation. It’s not directly related to my degree, but I’m hoping to move up within the Planning department where it is more analytical with forecasts and sales plans.
How did you mesh your personal interests with class background
to find a career?
I know it’s a little nerdy of me to say, but I LOVE statistics. I love analyzing trends and seeing what can be taken from those and apply it to the current situation. That’s when I realized I wanted to do something in planning/allocation. Between working at Vera Bradley and looking for jobs, I found that a lot of these positions are in the retail/fashion industry. I thought this would be a perfect fit for me! I knew that if I wanted to give 100% to my job I had to love the company and their product. I do love clothes and fashion. There is something about putting the perfect outfit together that can make you feel like a million bucks! (I also didn’t want to be wearing a suit/skirt everyday to work!) Thinking about it more, the fashion industry is so fast paced! Probably one of the most fast paced industries. Products are changing every three months; stores are opening in different locations. You always have to stay on your toes! One week you might be doing really well with a product and the next week you might not be, just because of the weather! To me it’s fascinating to try to solve these problems, and they are usually never the same!
How did you find your current job/ what does it entail?
I found my job through the Ralph Lauren career website. My job is to look at sales trends of stores, figure out the best strategy to allocate the product, and then actually allocate it. Some other side things I do is create sizing scales based on past statistics to figure out the breakdown of what sizes to buy for future purchase ordered.
What are your future goals with your job?
I would love to move up within the company to a more analytical position within Planning.
General advice for underclassmen looking for summer job
Try as many different things as you can! You’ll find out what you do and don’t like about each. And it’s ok if you didn’t have the best internship experience. Then you can really figure out what you want to be doing full time, instead of thinking you wanted to do something and being stuck in that position full time.
General advice for seniors looking for jobs?
Don’t give up. It’s all about persistence. Other people will probably be getting offers, and it’s ok to feel down if you haven’t gotten one yet (only for a little then you have to pick yourself up!) Just keep applying and making connections. If you are going through a job search, you want to do it right the first time. If you don’t you’ll have to go through the process again if you don’t like your job!