With summer winding down, it’s nearly time to give our summer interns a fond red-and-khaki sendoff as they wrap up their programs and head back to college or on to new adventures.
In July, you met Karime, Hector, Daniel, Kellie, Sam and Casey—six Target interns working in different (and challenging!) areas of our business. Before they say farewell to the bullseye, we followed up to see how the rest of their programs went and hear about some of their favorite moments on the job.
Software Engineer Intern, Minneapolis headquarters
Favorite part of your gig? Being part of Demo Day! It’s like a science fair where Target Technology Services (TTS) teams get to showcase their work and applications. I got to talk to so many others about my application, and I also got the opportunity to see other TTS teams’ work.
Best advice from a teammate: Always look at the bigger picture. Basically, it’s important to always keep in mind the end goal of your work—like the people it will affect, and the other processes that your application has to go through before it’s delivered. No matter how small your project is, it will still have an effect at the end.
What’s one thing you learned on this job that you’ll use in the future? I learned so many software development technologies that I’ll definitely use in the future. I also learned the Agile methodology and how to apply it when developing software with a team. It taught me how to be self-organized and adaptable, and to deliver working software often.
Favorite memory with the team: Exploring Minnesota with the other interns. One weekend, around 30 interns and I decided to take a trip to Apostle Islands, which is four hours northeast of Minneapolis. The whole trip was really fun and the scenery was beautiful. I loved kayaking on Lake Superior, especially through the sea caves.
Tips for next year’s class of interns? Make sure you go to every event you’re invited to. Target holds a lot of events throughout the internship, like team talks with leaders, volunteer events, and Q&A lunches with full-time employees working in different business areas. I found them all very useful and entertaining.
Transportation Analyst Intern, Minneapolis headquarters
Favorite part of your gig? Attending Target Talks, where leaders from different departments invite the team to a common space at HQ to hear business updates and ask questions. I really appreciated hearing valuable advice on career and life goals from leaders like Chief Merch Officer Mark Tritton and Chief Supply Chain and Logistics Officer Arthur Valdez.
Best advice from a teammate: The value in making a name for yourself by going above and beyond what your role requires and constantly challenging why things are done the way they are.
What’s one thing you learned on this job that you’ll use in the future? How to write a meaningful and concise “white paper” proposal that gets straight to the point on my findings. The approach is more convincing than a typical presentation that uses slides to convey ideas.
Favorite memory with the team: That has to be my team barely winning the packing competition during our volunteer event—and getting a trophy for it!
Tips for next year’s class of interns? Don’t worry about the learning curve for your specific role. Target has a very supportive environment, so don’t hesitate to ask your mentor, manager, or even reach out to someone else on the team who can help.
Arrows Supply Chain Intern, Cedar Falls, Iowa FDC
Favorite part of your gig? Treading on new ground and taking a completely unexplored approach to finding solutions. I had to do significant research to find the best data sources and understand them by connecting with partners across the company. And I had to pull and prepare my own data and propose new ways to visualize it to make recommendations the team could act on.
Best advice from a teammate: Put the hard work up-front to identify what the real problem is that you need to tackle—not just the symptoms—and that will help guide your project throughout the summer.
What’s one thing you learned on this job that you’ll use in the future? I learned and applied the Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control (DMAIC) framework, and created a “white paper” proposal with it. It’s a great tool to present projects that helps structure problems, goals, analysis, and conclusions in a very methodical and understandable way.
Favorite memory with the team: I was working late at the FDC one day and my manager, Peter, came by my cube for a quick chat before heading out. I was really tired, and we joked about how I was beginning to look a little cross-eyed from looking at the data. We burst out laughing! The feeling of putting something great together for my project is gratifying too, so I look back on the effort and I feel it was worth it.
Tips for next year’s class of interns? There’s data out there, and a lot of it. It took time to find the right people to ask about data sources, but there are plenty of teams, groups and resources that can help get you answers fast.
Operations Manager Intern, Cedar Falls, Iowa, FDC
Favorite part of your gig? My favorite thing has been working with the team and getting to know all of them over the summer.
Best advice from a teammate: To always trust my gut and own up to my mistakes.
What’s one thing you learned on this job that you’ll use in the future? How to work with a group of people with different goals, work styles and levels of motivation. As a leader, I was challenged to figure out what drives each team member to want to come to work and do a great job. Once I knew what motivated each person, I was able to tailor coaching conversations to them.
Favorite memory with the team: My mentor and I had a running joke that I had to keep tabs on his jacket. He always left it behind!
Tips for next year’s class of interns? Know that the team is super receptive and respectful to interns. They’re looking to you to make important decisions and lead them in the right direction. So if you don’t know the answer to a question, track it down and follow up with them—they really appreciate that.
Stores Executive Intern, Fort Collins, Colo.
Favorite part of your gig? Meeting awesome people, hearing about their backgrounds and how they got to where they are today. I also just love to pick people’s brains on leadership, store knowledge and life—it helps me continue to become a better leader and person.
Best advice from a teammate: My store team leader told me to approach my program as a development opportunity and not to worry as much about the little stuff. If I could walk away from the 10 weeks as a better leader than when I started, then I did the program right.
What’s one thing you learned on this job that you’ll use in the future? A great leader knows how to have conversations—even the tough ones—with their teams and leave everyone even more inspired to do their job than before. I’m a very optimistic person, so I love to keep the team positive and challenge them to do great things. I use LeBron James' motto of ‘strive for greatness’ all the time at the store.
Favorite memory with the team: Our volunteer event at the Ronald McDonald house in Denver. The families were so grateful that we came in to cook a good meal for them. (I made a mean queso from scratch for the nachos we had!) It was a great team bonding experience—I made lots of friends that day.
Tips for next year’s class of interns? Be empowered. Ask ‘why?’ a lot and challenge the process, even if it seems scary at first. Also, if you can, visit other Target stores and locations—you’ll get to see how others operate depending on their store’s volume, team and personal leadership style.
Stores Executive Intern, Liberty, Pa.
Favorite part of your gig? Learning from my mentor and other executive team leaders, and all the relationships I formed with my team. I also enjoyed learning the operations of each work center, particularly Guest Services and Softlines.
Best advice from a teammate: At the beginning of my guest service attendant training, my teammate Mary could tell I wasn’t comfortable in my role yet. She told me to stay calm and confident, encouraged me to ask questions and let me know it would take time to adjust.
What’s one thing you learned on this job that you’ll use in the future? How a high-volume retail store is managed and operated successfully—that’s valuable knowledge I can take into business situations. I also developed my own leadership and management skills throughout my time as an executive intern.
Favorite memory with the team: Meeting Zach, another new intern at my store. Our second day on the job, we went to an event with all the interns in our district. When it was time for lunch, he downed a stack of 10 Oreos and right then I knew we would be good friends.
Tips for next year’s class of interns? My advice is to actively get to know your team. It's important to introduce yourself and start forming relationships from the beginning. I felt that having a friendship and mutual respect established with my team made the transition easier.
Want to know more about Target’s internship programs? Check out our Careers resources for College Students. For more on what life is like at Target, explore Careers and meet more of our team members on The Pulse blog.
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