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Victoria’s Secret internship attracts Kelley supply chain major

Feb 25, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Summer internships can be ‘hit or miss.’ An ideal position would include interaction with company executives, real world experience, and an integrated understanding of business. Kelley School senior Paige Applebaum’s internship with Limited Brands’ Victoria’s Secret was a home run.

Applebaum, a supply chain management major and president of Kelley’s Supply Chain and Operations Management Association (SCOMA), joined Victoria’s Secret Sport (VSX) line last summer after realizing a career in corporate retail supply chains was exactly what she wanted.

Photo of Paige Applebaum

“I wanted to work in an industry where I could relate better to the customer and understand the products I was dealing with,” Applebaum said about what drew her to the Limited Brands internship.

Her daily tasks included tracking sales, inventory, weeks of supply, and sell-through percentages to better advise other departments on supply and demand trends. She attributes much of her success to X201: Technology and Business, especially her exposure to Excel 2010. Not only was she able to better perform statistical analysis for every day projects, she was also able to take a leadership role among other interns in teaching them how to best utilize the program.

Applebaum joined major planning meetings along-side vice presidents and management teams, and maintained regular interaction with other brand offices. 

“I was given tasks that actually impacted the business and therefore had to take responsibility for my decisions,” said Applebaum. “I attended meetings where my thoughts and opinions were heard and appreciated.”

One such instance occurred when Applebaum notified her manager of an inconsistency in the sales and inventory results from the Semi-Annual Sale. Sports bras had a much higher sell-through percentage than other VSX merchandise, a result which Applebaum attributed to the fact that sport bras were the only VSX items displayed among other Victoria’s Secret Semi-Annual Sales merchandise.

She suggested creating a specific, separate display of the entire VSX sales line in stores during the Semi-Annual Sale to increase the visibility and sales of the other VSX items, which Victoria’s Secret implemented immediately.

 “I was very happy and surprised that a recommendation from an intern was not only heard but actually being implemented,’ she said. “It was even more rewarding when I went to the local Victoria’s Secret store and was able to show my friends and family that what they were seeing had been my idea.”

Her suggestion resulted in an increase in unit sales and inventory turns of other VSX items.  Additionally, in-store sales associates saw more lingerie (non-sport) customers browsing and purchasing the sale merchandise in the VSX section.

“Being able to gain real world experience from my internship, as well as being exposed to and understanding the inner workings of corporate retail gave me an advantage as I explore opportunities to start my post-college career,” she said.

Applebaum is currently interviewing with Macy’s, Kohls, Chicos, White House Black Market, and Limited Brands, and hopes to secure a position in which she will continue to have a direct impact on the consumer experience.

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