I have the honor of being a student-athlete in the Global Luxury and Management dual master’s degree program at NC State University in partnership with SKEMA Business School in Paris. The GLAM program recently asked me to share my summer internship experience with Belk while also handling the responsibilities of a student-athlete. In order to graduate from the unique GLAM program, students are required to complete four months of work experience, either through an internship or full time position. My internship journey started thanks to Kathleen Black, Assistant Director of the GLAM program. In January 2018, Ms. Black invited me to represent the GLAM program and attend the National Retail Federation (NRF) conference in New York City. The NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association representing retailers from more than 45 countries, including the United States. It was during NRF that I had the opportunity to connect with Belk, essentially jump starting my internship journey. Belk offered several internship opportunities, including Buying, Store Management, Product Development, Accounting, and Advertising. After careful consideration, I found the Store Management position most intriguing as it aligned best with my future career goals and the development of my own premium brand.
During my undergraduate career, I started a premium brand targeting millennials and young consumers with fashionable high-quality goods. With my interest in understanding premium and luxury retail, I believed Belk’s Store Management internship position would allow me an opportunity to enhance both my skills as a business owner as well as my knowledge of the retail industry. Through this internship, Belk equipped me with the resources needed to craft a brand that is successful, experiential and memorable. My internship at Belk allowed me to gain hands-on exposure to various management roles in Visual Merchandising, Human Resources, Shipping & Receiving, Operations, Sales Support and Loss Prevention, all essential components of running a retail store. In addition, I gained experience in understanding how to exceed customer service expectations.
During my internship, I worked at Belk’s largest flagship store at Crabtree Valley Mall located in Raleigh, NC under the mentorship of Assistant Store Manager Bonnie Heath. Ms. Heath allowed me to lead morning meetings where I was responsible for communicating the importance of conversion to our sales associates and organize events for brands like Ralph Lauren. In addition, I strategized with Belk’s Regional Director of Cosmetics to develop ways to increase sales within the cosmetics department. Furthermore, I was honored to visit Belk’s Corporate office in Charlotte, NC where we took a deep dive into understanding the buying office, product development, and private label brands.
My internship experience at Belk was more than just a learning opportunity. It enabled me to grow as a young entrepreneur and business professional. This experience allowed me to build relationships with executives across a range of functions, including Regional Vice Presidents, Regional Directors, Managers, as well as my local team of Associates. I look forward to continuing to further developing the relationships I built at Belk and applying my internship experiences to my future career in the premium and luxury industry.
Deonte Holding is a member of the 2018 Global Luxury and Management class