ERS Internship: The First 3 Days
By Jim Lewis, Wenxin (Helen) Qie and Lauren Cohen
Every summer at ERS we welcome interns into our organization. They play the role of a Business Analyst and learn multiple facets of our business. It has been extremely rewarding for both the interns and ERS. We get a fresh perspective on marketing and customer engagement in addition to tangible content and research. Interns gain experience working in a business environment, developing soft skills, and getting a sense of whether retail/wholesale or analytics is a good fit for their future careers.
Probably the most important benefit interns get is seeing how their efforts can pay off in the real world. They get to develop a professional demeanor as they provide data and make presentations to our clients. While the pandemic forced us to reconfigure the internship program to work remotely, it still works extremely well. This year we welcomed Helen and Lauren, 2 very bright and energetic University of Florida students. They started just 3 days ago, but I think they are already getting a sense of what ERS is all about. I asked them to write about their very short experience so far. This is what they had to say:
Wenxin (Helen) Qie
The first three days helped us build a solid foundation for understanding the industry, company, and projects we will be working on this summer. Those introductory sessions may seem to take up a sizable portion of the 8-week internship program, but it is a necessary and rewarding step that ensures the smooth operation of the following weeks. Even though this internship is online due to the pandemic, ERS already has rich experience in managing projects remotely and tries its best to match the quality of the in-person internship experience from prior years.
One thing that stood out to me is the team’s expertise and passion for what they are doing. Jim Lewis, the CEO, always unsparingly expresses his pride and admiration for his team and firmly believes that “people are everything.” It is a small team, however, the division of work is clear with each team member being charged with specific responsibilities: at the same time, everyone on the team is always willing to offer help whenever it is needed. The last thing you will always hear at the end of every meeting is “Let me know if you have any questions. I am always happy to help.”
After reviewing reports and case studies, I am surprised by how flexible yet detail oriented ERS is. ERS generates reports and action plans for their clients but take it to another level by customizing the service to meet each client’s needs. In addition to ERS’ proprietary analytic tools, spreadsheets are used frequently. I never realized how functional and sophisticated they can be until I started learning from the team. The countless numbers on spreadsheets can be overwhelming, but everyone on the team knows how to break them down. They can visualize them by connecting them to real-world scenarios. The plain numbers start to tell a story and lead the reader to the solutions. It is undoubtedly a hectic start with a lot of information flooding into my brain, but it is also exciting to see how the magic is performed and utilized during this learning process. There are numerous projects designed for us throughout this summer, and I am excited to work the magic with the team!
After having only interned at Enhanced Retail Solutions for 3 days, I can already tell that my summer is going to be full of laughs and excitement, but most importantly- learning. I knew after meeting Jim and the ERS team that I would grow to be even more passionate about the retail business than I already was. I just did not realize that it would start on day one! Helen (my co-intern) and I started to learn right off the bat, which is something that is clearly built into the
company culture. It is clear that the team pushes each other to be better, provides constructive feedback, and undoubtedly supports each other. Without that environment at ERS, I would not have learned so much in 3 days.
ERS works with retailers and manufacturers to help them make better business decisions based on market and internal data for the respective companies. Each company is completely unique, so taking the time to fully understand the needs, aspirations, and culture of every client has become a common practice. The team takes the time to explain to every client their recommendations on improving not only their short-term monetary goals, but also their long-term strategic and
cultural objectives. They do this all through analyzing data.