Fashion frenzy: finding the perfect internship

Experiencing the stress and chaos of finding the perfect internship, three hopeful Central Michigan University fashion students share their stories.

It’s that time of the year — chaos, transition and the unknown — summer internships are right around the corner and apparel merchandising and design (AMD) students at Central Michigan University are networking, filling out applications and crossing their fingers in hopes of landing that coveted internship. A time-consuming and often stressful process, three AMD students share their stories about their interests in the industry and plans for the future.

Juniors Malorie Urda (left), Lindsey Peters (center), and Nicole Staat (right) . (Justine Young-GCMAG)

Junior Nicole Staat’s love of the fashion industry was first sparked in high school.

“It was the only major that truly interested me. Although it can be challenging at times, it is something that I am very passionate about,” Staat said.

Zappos, the booming shoe and apparel website, is at the top of Staat’s list as she aspires to land a fashion buying internship.

“The company has a wonderful culture; they work hard but also have so much fun in their office. I think I would learn a lot about online retailing and further my knowledge of buying.”

Staat’s main advice to other fashion students when seeking an internship is all about perseverance.

“Start networking early, perfect your resume and cover letter right away and be persistent! Be sure to follow up and send thank you notes after you have had an interview.”

Junior Lindsey Peters believes that her previous retail experience will set her apart in competing for her ideal internship.

“Working at The Limited has really helped me a lot. You can only learn so much from classes, so having hands on experience with visual merchandising and customer service at a retail store has been nice.”

Having a jam-packed schedule, Peters has learned how time-consuming internship hunting can be.

“The most challenging thing for me has been being able to really make time to apply. With classes and other university activities, things can get pushed to the bottom of the pile and it took me a while to realize I really needed to make searching for an internship a priority,” Peters said.

Peters is hoping to intern in New York City but sees herself long-term in California.

“I really like the idea of the hustle and bustle of a big city. Mount Pleasant just isn’t cutting it for me,” she said.

Junior Malorie Urda pursued a degree in fashion because of the creative freedom offered in the industry combined with her love of clothing.

“I don’t want to sit at a desk everyday and do the same things. I want my career to be exciting and new every day,” Urda said.

As a double major in fashion with a minor in art, Urda has a variety of interests she wants to pursue.

“Interning with a designer such as Ralph Lauren would be a great opportunity to experience a few different areas and see which I feel most comfortable with.”

What are some of the challenges you have faced in pursuing an internship?

The most challenging thing has been staying patient as most recruiters seem to take their time in getting back to you. Another challenging thing has been staying organized, which I have slowly gotten better at. I have learned a great deal about different interview techniques through my internship class as well as through my mock interview sessions.

Urda understands that even though the process is long, there are a few key things to set yourself up for success.

“Always do your best in classes; connect with all of your professors and start building a portfolio early. Never settle for an internship that you are not really excited about and apply to anything that interests you. It can’t hurt to try!”