Andy Mangano tapped into his network to intern at True Grit Clothing and gain skills in logistics and fashion consulting.
How did you get your internship?
I obtained this internship through a network connection that I established at my gym. Originally, I had planned to take on another role at my current company, but as the summer approached, I found out that the role would no longer be available to me. At first I panicked and was unsure of how I could pivot so close to the summer term, so I turned to my network and connections to see what opportunities they might recommend. That’s how I came across Bruce, who had his own clothing company and was happy to take me on as an intern after learning about my skill set and what I hoped to learn from the experience. It was the first time either of us had ever experienced an internship, so there were times where we had to strategize and adapt to make sure we both got the most out of the experience, and it all worked out in the end.
Why did you choose this internship?
I chose this internship for a few different reasons. First, I already had a relationship with the CEO and founder of the company and knew that I could learn a lot. It was a successful and growing company, and that was very appealing to me. I was also intrigued at the idea of working in the retail and fashion industry as that has always been a passion of mine. But overall, it was the relationship I had with Bruce and the trust and admiration I had for him that motivated me to choose this internship.
What kind of work did you do throughout your internship experience?
We worked on releasing the fall and winter clothing lines, and subsequently I learned an entire new business vocabulary and gained experience in the fashion industry. I was able to communicate directly with co-branders, suppliers, and other business collaborators. I was able to sit on many different types of meetings and discussions from sales to marketing and everything in between. I gained more experience in Microsoft Excel and consulting how businesses should be running more efficiently. I also had the opportunity to plan and staff a pop-up sales event where I was able to talk to our customer base directly.
What did you find challenging about your internship?
The most challenging thing about the internship was balancing the other responsibilities I had going on in my life while also maintaining proper focus and attention to my internship role. I already was working full-time and had a full-time course schedule with school, so to add this internship that was unpaid but very time intensive (I took the course over a seven-week summer term) was the primary challenge. It was a lot to manage all of these responsibilities at once, but it was only for a short period of time in my life and was well worth the experience.
What is the impact of your internship experience and how has it influenced your plans for the future?
There were many impacts and lasting factors from my internship experience. First, was the invaluable experience in this industry, along with the responsibilities I had related to consulting and logistics. Second, was the relationships that I made in business and how those can be foundational for seeking mentorship or opportunities in the future. Another impact would be the knowledge and wisdom gained from working directly under a successful CEO.
The overall impact that I am taking from this experience is that I have the ability and aptitude to work in different career fields than previously thought. Perhaps I could also get into this industry in a full-time role, but as of now that hasn’t been the sole focus. It has expanded my experience with consulting and logistics, which is something that I have long been interested in and will help to expand my opportunities in those fields.
What advice do you have for other students as they search for and/or begin their internship?
My advice to give to a student who is considering doing a future internship is simple: show up on time every day, ask questions, be grateful and humble. Make it clear that you’re there to learn; if you come into an internship with a bad attitude or seem as if you already know everything about the type of work you are going to do you have already failed. Be the best employee for that time that you are there and soak up as much wisdom and knowledge as you can from all your co-workers. Have a good attitude and be willing to listen and learn.