Our guest blog is written by Step candidate; Bethany Pickles, a Manchester Metropolitan Undergraduate currently undertaking a Merchandising Sandwich Placement at PUMA.
During my second year at Manchester Metropolitan University where I am studying Fashion Buying and Merchandising, we had the option to start applying for placements for our third year studies. Placement year is such a fantastic opportunity and a great way to open up future pathways so I was keen to apply. I applied for a variety of placements but the PUMA Merchandising Intern placement with Step really appealed to me. The whole placement application process was really well organised and I was continually updated with the process of my application.
My role at Puma is to work with the Performance Merchandising Team, and during each season I assist in the process of choosing the range, forecasting, pricing the products and setting all the styles up on the system. As well as answering any general queries along the way. Not every day is spent in the office as we go on various retail trips, and visits to sales offices or the warehouse. We also do launches every couple of months, so workbooks and pricelists have to be made for these, which I am involved in. I am given my own responsibilities and treated as an employee rather than as a placement student. I am given the exact same responsibility that any other Merchandising Admin Assistant within the company has; I am not seen differently just because I am an intern. Naturally whilst learning the ropes your team members are there to teach you the first steps, but once fully confident I was allowed and encouraged to take ownership of my responsibilities. I am also given my own small projects to work towards and complete which are great opportunities to learn new things and prove my capabilities.
Not only am I continually gaining business knowledge but I also get to work alongside senior level people from all the Puma offices. Working closely in one of the company’s main teams gives me a huge insight into the corporate world and how things are run in such a large company, from both the retail and the sourcing side. The social networking and people you meet while on your year out are fantastic too. I have made different contacts from around the country which may not have been possible if I hadn’t taken the chance to work on a placement year. I also never expected to be so welcomed into my team. As an intern you can worry that’s all you will be seen as, but at Puma you are accepted equally as just like everyone else. On a wider company scale there is also a great effort made to communicate to all members and get everyone together.
Placement has proved to be an invaluable experience which I would recommend to everybody. You really do learn so much ‘on the job’ that I feel I will return to final year feeling confident and assured that I have a much better grasp of how business works in the real world.