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Internship Series - Ellie Wassink

Ellie Wassink is a senior at Ferris State University majoring in Marketing and obtaining a minor in Advertising and Integrated Marketing Communications along with a certificate in Data Analytics. She completed her summer internship as a merchandising intern at Meijer corporate campus. Meijer is one of the largest family-owned grocery retailers in the Midwest, with over 240+ supercenters across six states. Ellie found this position by searching on employment websites for internships in the West Michigan area. After attending multiple interviews, she landed the internship and worked in the health and beauty care merchandising team.

What makes an internship unique at Meijer is that interns will have slightly different experiences from one another. Merchandising interns were separated into groups with each group member working on a specific portion of a large presentation, which would be presented to company leadership at the conclusion of the internship. The group Ellie was a part of analyzed the current secondary seasonal displays throughout the health and beauty care (HBC) department. When examining the seasonal displays, it was essential for the group to identify new and creative strategies for improving the effectiveness of the displays to achieve maximum output. To help provide guidance through this process was an assigned mentor and a business analyst from the HBC department. Regularly, Ellie would job-shadow her mentor to understand what a business analyst does and how the role impacts Meijer.

In addition, interns took multiple courses and classes to help further their skill set. A few of these courses incorporated extra training for the variety of platforms and programs needed for this role, such as Excel, PowerBI, and MicroStrategy. There were also many professional development and networking opportunities presented to interns. Ellie had the chance to attend presentations ranging in topic and often conducted by leaders from major departments.

Due to the many requirements of the role, Ellie had to utilize numerous skills. At times, Ellie had to be very self-directed. Also, displaying effective time management and presentation abilities was equally as important. Creating appealing presentations and communicating the overarching message was essential for the role. In order to convey the message to decision-makers, it is necessary to show the monetary impact it can bring to the company and have statistical data supporting the suggestion. Ellie states: "Creative ideas are great, but decision-makers want to know how it will truly help them, not how it will hypothetically."

What stood out to Ellie was how everyone at Meijer was supportive and excited for the interns. Ellie was able to gain great advice, especially during one-on-one meetings with individuals from around the company. These meetings allowed her to create connections and understand how things she has learned from Ferris State apply to an organization as large as Meijer. Ellie truly appreciated her merchandising internship and is thrilled to continue her career with Meijer!

AMA Ferris is excited for Ellie and her success!

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