As a lot of you know, I had the opportunity to intern at Macy’s.com this summer in San Francisco. It was my first corporate internship, and I went in with the mindset to learn more about working at a large company. I’m glad to say that my experience there was nothing short of amazing.
My internship consisted of two parts. The first part was directly related to my position as a product management intern. My supervisor, Supriya (who is awesome, by the way), taught me a lot about the skills and knowledge associated with the position. For Macy’s.com, product managers work on specific features on the website (i.e. search, navigation bars, etc.), coming up with the vision while working with the creative team, marketing team, and developers to translate that vision into features on the website.
Supriya assigned me to the search autocomplete feature, and I went through the typical product management cycle by researching, writing out user stories for the developers, and working with creative to wire frame the look. I was really excited because search autocomplete wasn’t on the current website, and the feature would be implemented in the near future based on my vision. I also had the opportunity to work on the mobile search feature, which was pretty awesome because I got to talk to the people working in mobile and learned a lot of new things about mobile user experience (UX) and user interface (UI).
The second part of my internship was definitely the highlight of my summer. On the first day, the group of 10 interns learned that we were working on a group project. Our goal was to come up with the structure for a Macy’s.com innovation lab, and we were to test out our structure by actually working in an innovation lab setting and coming up with new prototypes for the website, mobile, or tablet.
Basically, I worked in a start up this summer, while working at a large firm, at the same time. How awesome is that?
Our intern group was really diverse – we came from a variety of backgrounds, from schools like Cal Poly SLO, Stanford, UCSB, and Berkeley, in areas such as marketing, analytics, user experience, and computer science. Because of this diversity, it was tough the first few weeks to figure everything out – we were literally thrown into the project with very general guidelines.
This turned out for the better, because once we set up a structure and learned from our mistakes, we worked really well together, each contributing based on specific skill sets and interests. By the mid-point of our internship, we had established a quick iterative process for brainstorming, building, testing, and refining our prototypes, with the goal of determining whether our ideas were good ones or not.
Our final result: two fully functional prototypes. The first prototype was an in-store touchscreen kiosk that had a real-time news feed (similar to Facebook’s) that displayed items that were currently being purchased in a particular store. The second prototype was a mobile app that used NFC technology to check shoppers in (by simply placing their phones over a check-in stand) and gave them the chance to earn achievement badges and discounts.
We presented to Kent Anderson, President of Macy’s.com, and again to the entire company, and we got some really great feedback. It was an amazing feeling to have actually accomplished what we did in a few short months.
Overall, I loved how the internship was set up so I always had something to work on at any given time. I loved the ownership aspect of it – we had our own projects, and I could see that the work we did actually benefited the company. I loved the people – our intern group was the best, and I got to hang out with them outside of work. I loved my supervisor – she was super busy but still found the time to check-in with me and teach me really useful skills. I definitely enjoyed the product manager role, and I was glad I got actual hands-on experience for that particular position.
The bottom line? My summer internship at Macy’s.com taught me a lot of useful skills, allowed me to work on challenging and impactful projects, and was lots of fun.
Shout out to Iann, Sam, Alissa, Chris, Ryan, Jonathan, Riley, Lea, and Larry. Thanks for the good times and great memories!
Here’s a short video that Iann compiled based on our innovation lab experiences. Enjoy!
The Magic at randomtidbitsofthought.wordpress.com.