The Columns

Interns at Work: Carley Sambrook ’17 Michael Kors, New York City

— by on September 5th, 2016

Carley Sambrook '17

“I have an increased understanding of the business functions behind the fashion world, and have identified potential paths for me to take in the future in this industry.”

What attracted you to this internship?

At the beginning of my sophomore year, I made it my goal to intern at a fashion company in New York City. I knew it would be a challenge because internships there are competitive, but I had romanticized the idea and wanted to try it on for size. Michael Kors is a brand that I know and love, and with research I felt attracted to the brand and what it stands for.

How did you learn about it?

I made a huge list of major fashion houses and submitted applications to as many companies with internships as I could! I did a lot of research online, as well as connecting with people in the corporate offices via LinkedIn. I applied to all open positions at Michael Kors, ultimately interviewing for sales and planning.

What gave you the edge in landing this internship?

One of my managers told me that what made me stand out most was my excitement about the industry, Michael Kors, and the position itself. She also valued the entrepreneurial work with my jewelry business Carley & Carlisle, and she appreciated that I wanted to explore a career that uses both creativity and business skills.

Describe your daily duties.

I was lucky to be in an environment where I was consistently challenged to take on new tasks, which was one of the highlights of this experience. I did everything from organizing and documenting samples to be shipped out to photo-shoots, to running and analyzing reports on inventory that are sent to external accounts as well as various MK internal departments. I also assisted in the showroom; it was exciting to be there as accounts like Macy’s or Saks came to the corporate offices to choose from the line for Spring ’16. I can’t tell you what the collection looks like, but you will want to buy some Michael Kors clothing for sure!

Have any courses and/or professors helped you prepare for this internship? Which ones?

I feel very lucky to go to a school with such a strong career center. Dean Jensen and Caroline Schmidt were absolutely amazing at supporting me throughout the application process. From my initial excited (and general) proclamation of “I want to go into fashion!” to talking through my doubts and giving me confidence that I could get to where I wanted to be, they were constant sources of support. I could not have done this without them.

What did you learn by the end of your experience?

I have an increased understanding of the business functions behind the fashion world, and have identified potential paths for me to take in the future in this industry.

What was your favorite part or perk of the internship?

I have two. The view from my desk was pretty great; the Empire State Building and the Bryant Park Hotel were right outside my window, and my desk overlooked Bryant Park. But most importantly, I was lucky to work with a very close-knit group that integrated me into their team. They gave me meaningful projects and explained to me the impact they would have on the business. They were happy to show me the ropes with patience and a willingness to answer all my questions.

What did you learn from city where the internship was located?

New York City is an amazing place to be for the summer. Learning to balance work with the thousands of things to do and sites to see in the city was a challenge, but one I welcomed. While it may have been tempting to come home from work and crash into bed, in a city like that it’s nearly impossible.

What key takeaways/skills did you bring back to W&L?

Dividing and maximizing my time. When it was busy at work, it was a lot of fun moving at a fast pace. When it was quieter, I had to learn how to think outside of the box and find something productive to do without direction from my managers. For example, I have been told many, many times over the course of this summer by Michael Kors executives about the importance of curiosity; so, I took it upon myself to meet individually with people within Michael Kors and W&L alumni to learn about their paths to where they are today.

What advice would you give to students interested in a position like this?

Network, network, network! I applied to dozens of internships in fashion and heard back from very few. That being said, the more persistent and driven you are, the more likely you will be to get a fashion internship. I did not know anyone personally at Michael Kors, but I used LinkedIn to network and I think that helped put me on their radar. Colonnade Connections is also a great resource that I used to connect with alumnae in the fashion industry for guidance.