By Adina Deutsch, ERS Intern
Since March, my college routine has been rather mundane – wake up, attend lectures online, do schoolwork, and repeat. I predicted this would stay the same until next year when COVID-19 would hopefully allow me to get back to the University of Florida campus.
Fortunately, I was given the opportunity to gain a peek into the retail and consulting industry from my desk in Fort Lauderdale as an intern with Enhanced Retail Solutions. Not only did I learn about forecasting and reporting, but also the hard work and skill it takes. My micro internship this fall has left me feeling more confident and prepared as I embark on my educational and professional journey.
Where I Began
As a marketing student in my junior year, I am constantly looking for new opportunities to gain experience and learn about the retail industry. When I received an email about this internship opportunity with ERS, I knew I had to apply and give it my all.
I was a bit unsure of how this internship would work being that it is usually held in person at the ERS headquarters in New York City over the summer, whereas now it took place this fall over Microsoft Teams. I predicted it would consist of many meetings and lessons on daily ERS functions. Luckily, I was welcomed by the entire ERS team to learn, bring fresh ideas, and gain hands-on experience.
Reality as an Intern
I began each day by meeting with Jim Lewis, the CEO (and former Gator!), discussing new website ideas, and learning about the current client the team was working on. This gave me a look into sales forecasting, demand planning, and the ERS software. We went through many Excel sheets, different coding programs, and EDI data so that I can learn different aspects of data and the reporting process from start to finish. He showed me how he builds the company website, in which I contributed ideas to make it easier to navigate.
One of my main roles as an intern was to write blogs for the ERS website, which I really enjoyed. Each week was a different topic ranging from the effects of COVID-19 on all retail levels, to the importance to sales forecasting, to consumer shopping habits. These blogs helped me learn more about why ERS is so valuable to clients and how they help navigate the tricky waters of reporting data.
I also learnt a lot about different companies that use ERS for consulting and reporting services. I was able to gain insight into how the consulting process works, different resources clients could take advantage of, and was able to sit in on a meeting demonstrating the product to a potential client. This perspective helped me see all sides of the business, see what clients look for, and how ERS was able to customize their reporting for each individual retailer.
What I Walked Away With
Now that my internship is completed, I can wholeheartedly say this was a great experience. While I’m sure my internship would have been a bit different had it been in person, I still learnt a lot over the past 6 weeks from the ERS team.
Sitting in on weekly team meetings, I gained greater understanding of the aspects and roles everyone plays in reporting, forecasting, clients, and the software. My work with Jim taught me the process of analyzing data and transforming it into actionable steps the client can take to improve their retailing business. Writing articles and contributing to the company website helped me develop my understanding of consulting and the importance of reporting and demand planning.
Going into the future, I know this experience will be extremely valuable. This foundation and understanding will help me develop my analytical skills whether in school or future internships/jobs. Gaining insight into sales curves and forecasting taught me about the detail and precision needed to transform numbers into next steps, which I know I will use in the future. Though different, my internship experience was still educational, productive, and leaves me confident in my pursual of my education and a career in business.