Jil Sander Internship – A Wharton Student Reflects

WRC Wharton Retail Club
Hello, all!
Lennie speaking. I certainly have a lot to say about this past summer and my work at Jil Sander, and I must apologize for taking so long to finally get it together! On the plus side, now that my internship has ended, I’ll hopefully be able to more clearly articulate everything I’ve learned over the course of this long summer.
Last Friday was my final day at Jil, and as I bid my coworkers goodbye, I was struck by the ease with which I found myself embracing them and giving heartfelt promises to keep in contact. I still remember my tense first day; I had gotten to work early, at 8:45AM, eager to make a good first impression. Instead, my plan backfired on me. I crept into the building behind a distinguished looking gentleman who did not greet me (he turned out to be one of my higher up bosses- Mark Winrow, Jil Sander America’s Director of Sales).
He no doubt felt just as nonplussed at seeing this strange, unfamiliar face in his home as I felt at entering this unfamiliar, stark white lair. When I reached the office, the account executives whom I had been recruited by had not yet arrived. The kind secretary that I introduced myself to had heard nothing about a new intern arriving that day, but she made me a cup of coffee anyway. By the time Nick and Sara, my supervisors and the Account Executives of Menswear and Womenswear respectively, reached the office and rescued me from my somewhat disorienting anonymity, I had resolved to impose myself helpfully upon every person in the office throughout my internship. By the end of it, I wanted everyone to not only know my name, but also remember me as “that really, really enthusiastic intern that did everything.”
I do believe that I managed to make that resolution come true. In my time at Jil, I completed major projects with almost every person in our office and in every branch of the company, including accounting, public relations, operations, client services, and product development. What I would like to chalk this up to, as my official responsibilities had at first been to simply oversee administrative tasks and help with order entry, are constant curiosity, openly seeking out tasks from employees other than my direct bosses, and simply making sure that I was always in the right place at the right time.
Out of everything that I have gained from these experiences, I think this has been the most important lesson. Because the different branches in a fashion brand’s office do such vastly different things, there generally is not much interaction between them. This is often a very negative thing, as it takes away from each worker’s ability to comprehend the usefulness of what he or she is doing. So I made it my personal goal to blatantly ignore the divisions between departments and make myself available to all of them. This was the best possible thing I could have done, as I believe that it not only exposed me to the various goings on of the company, but also allowed me to raise awareness between departments about what was happening in other parts of the Jil world, if only vaguely.
I’ll go into more detail about the different projects I worked on in later posts- I know all you readers are busy bees! So until next time, I’ll bid you adieu, and work on stemming the huge floods of words that I always inevitably produce whenever I write…
Best,
Lennie
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