HI everyone!! I got back Friday night from Atlanta. For those of you who don't know, I am a fashion merchandising major who is graduating in May. I was in Atlanta Thursday and Friday interviewing for an assistant buyer position with Macys!!
Everything went REALLY REALLY well!!!! The fist day was more of an introduction to the company--we got to shadow an assistant buyer for a little while, we had some guest speakers from HR. We also learned about benefits, their volunteer program, and their extensive training program (they have a COURSE CATALOG for all the classes you have to take when you start!).
The best part about Thursday was dinner--not just because we got free dinner at Maggianos (yum!!), but because also attending the dinner was the CMO (chief merchandising officer), and several senior vice presidents and general merchandising managers (head buyers who have been with the company 20+ years!) Also, some assistant and associate buyers were there. The CMO spoke and gave us advice and took questions, and the other executives were sitting at our tables so we could pick their brains, talk to them about the company, the position, and the industry in general. The exposure to these executives was priceless and a great opportunity!!!!
Friday was the interview day. I should mention that there were 37 other candidates, and they will do the same thing again in the spring, and for both sessions of interviews they only have about 35 spots, so there was a lot of pressure. We had one 30 minute interview...mine went really well! It turned into more of a conversation than anything else so I wasn't nervous at all. We also had to take a writing assessment (easy!), a retail math test (which I flew through and am positive I passed with flying colors), and a prioritization test. The prioritization was actually fun--they gave us 12 tasks that would typically be given to an assistant buyer and how long each one would take and we had to plan out our day out and explain WHY we did it in that order. After we did that we discussed it with a buyer...I'm happy to say I got every one right and the buyer told me after looking at my resume that I had "nothing to worry about".
Probably my favorite part of the assessments was the group exercise. We were broken into groups of six and given a scenerio that we were each and assistant buyer for a different department, and our divisional merch. manager just told us that there are three spots left in the after thanksgiving ad. We were each given information on the product we wanted to promote, and we 20 minutes to discuss and decide which 3 products would be the most beneficial for the company to place in the ad. We each went around the table (I volunteered to go first!) and made our case as to why our product should be in the ad, and then we discussed which ones would be best and made a decision. They were not only looking for us to make a good case for our product, but read between the lines (for example, my product was a holiday bear, which we had 30,000 units and only November and December to sell them all, so I said that if we didn't we would have a huge markdown on our hands. That wasn't on my fact sheet but the buyers looked impressed when I said that :) ) They were also looking for us to realize which were the best, even if that wasn't our product, and to work together to come to that decision. I'm happy to say that our group got all three that were the best ones. :)
So, all in all, I think it went really really well. The thing that suprised me the most was that out of the other candidates, there were only TWO other fashion majors! Lots of marketing and business majors, but also economic, political science, and sociology majors as well, which really baffled me. But it gave me an advantage because I had such a great understanding of the job and how the retail industry works as a whole, where these other candidates didn't.
They told us that they would let us know, one way or the other, within two weeks, hopefully sometime next week. Also, they told us that while they have a number in mind as to how many they will hire, they NVER turn away talent.
I am so excited after visiting the office. Macy's is the kind of company I can see myself having a career with. In fact, all of the executives I spoke with told me that they started as an assistant buyer for Macy's!!!
So, keep your fingers crossed and I will let you all know the second I hear something!!!!