End of Internship Recap

Hey guys,

So the internship went horribly. What a lousy waste of time, can’t believe I ever signed up for that awful experience. I learned nothing, didn’t experience any real corporate culture, and came out so much worse for wear than I came in. If I were trying to tell you the exact opposite of my experience, those would be my words to describe my summer internship 🙂

Fidelity was a great company to work for, and the tech program gave great insight into what being a tech professional is like. My internship wasn’t the coding type of tech- to be honest, the best way I could describe it is that the tech field is exactly like the business field, you need the same skills to deal with people and solve problems. The only difference is that the subject matter and critical items you are dealing with are a lot different. So even if I wasn’t always completely comfortable in a back office role, this internship gave me great exposure to what a systems analyst role is like, and that was extremely interesting because I still felt like I learned so many general skills that can be applicable in more than just a tech role.

If I were to give one crucial piece of advice that became radiantly clear over the internship, and what I feel can bring you farthest in your career, it is this- ask questions. Don’t just ask if you can go to the bathroom (you usually can), or if you can take a break for lunch (decide that one yourself)  but any time a question that might influence how your final deliverable will come out, that question needs to be verbalized so that it becomes actionable. My partner almost never asked questions, he always let our boss do the talking when they had their weekly meetings. This inability to clear up important issues is why his final document came out with the word “DRAFT” bolded on the front page, and mine did not. Why do I think this was? Because where he was complacent and shy in his meetings, I was basically peppering our boss with more questions than she could handle. Sure, some didn’t make me look too bright, but that’s a normal part of the process and your boss always knows more than you and always will be willing to help you understand what you need to make your project click.

The eagerness to ask questions is just one component of the many dimensions I learned about for me as a person and a professional during my first internship. I really can’t say how much more ready it made me for the work force when I graduate in 2017 (gulp) but I would strongly recommend you put everything you can into finding an internship because the work will pay dividends. Unfortunately I won’t go into crazy detail in this blog post, but I offer up my email (kononenko.3@osu.edu) if anyone wants to meet and discuss. I know a candid conversation with internshipees helped me along my interview process, and I am more than happy if you want to reach out.

Best of Luck,


12 in 12

Below are my top 12 of the amazing opportunities that I have had through my 12-week internship with DSW. Take a look below to see some of the great projects I’ve worked on and people I’ve met!

  1. Fashion Week Columbus: FWC is a non-profit organization that supports local fashion designers and DSW is a huge sponsor! Throughout my internship I’ve been able to meet with their Executive Director and figure out how DSW could be a part of it, which includes providing all the shoes for the Kids Show and Final Runway show!
  2. Magazine features: As I’ve mentioned in my blog, I work with editors of magazines almost everyday including Cosmopolitan, InStyle, People StyleWatch, Redbook, Real Simple & more! They usually let me know the trends or styles they are looking for, and then I work with our Merchandising team to pick out what would work. Check out the below picture of a sample I sent to Oprah that made it in their August issue! thumbnail_IMG_7172 (2)
  1. Information Sessions: These sessions have helped me learn way more than I would have imagined. HR arranged about 10 information sessions where executives gave an overview of what goes on in their department. I mean, who would have thought that I would have completely loved the finance meeting I went to? If your internship has anything like this, make sure to go!
  2. Lunch with Interns: This is one of the things I am going to miss so much! About 10 of the interns and I meet in the cafeteria each day for lunch and it was a great way to get to know the other interns from around the country. It was also a safe zone for questions we might have thought were embarrassing, like where someone’s office was or how to use the fax machine.
  3. Skechers Events: If you happened to be at the DSW in Dublin on July 17th you would have seen 1 of the 23 Skechers Kids Parties that I helped with. The store in Dublin had a try-on event complete with a DJ, face painter, balloon artist and free prizes! This was really cool for me to attend and see over a month of planning come to life!thumbnail_skecher
  1. Pokémon Go: I know you’ve heard of the app that has taken over the world! This project was very unique because we didn’t have much time to plan at all when the app exploded with popularity. I was able to work with people in Communications, Signage and Media to pull off Pokémon Go in select DSW stores in just a few days. Customers received $10 off that day if they played Pokémon Go in the store! 
  2. Art Review: This was just one of the regular weekly meetings I always went to, but my favorite! Every week in Art Review different people in Marketing present their email, signage, gift card, website artwork and more. It was so cool to hear the feedback and see all of the behind the scenes work that goes into this business.
  3. Holiday Look Book: This was my big intern project and my favorite one too! I was able to gather products to show magazine editors what DSW would have in stock for their holiday issue. From the selection of products by the Trend team, to getting them shot by our Photo Studio, designing a layout myself and gathering over 100 contacts to send them to, this project was extremely rewarding. The whole project went through my hands from the beginning to end, and ended up turning out great! Keep a look out in your favorite magazines for DSW in Holiday Gift Guides!
  4. Bloggers: If you follow Barefoot Blonde or other bloggers, you’ve probably seen them wearing New Balance, Vans, Converse and many more DSW carried brands. I was able to see how these posts unfold from beginning to end, so fun!
  5. Buzzfeed: Ever wonder how Buzzfeed writes their articles? It’s from lots of drafts back and forth! Check out this one that tells you what your shoes reveal about your horoscope! I have to admit, mine was spot on…

    These were my results from the Buzzfeed quiz. What are yours?
    These were my results from the Buzzfeed quiz. What are yours?
  1. Events Planning Committee: Make sure to get involved! On the first day of my internship (still can’t believe that was 10 weeks ago), I volunteered to be on the Intern Events Committee. Throughout the summer a few of us have planned events like happy hours, Columbus Clippers games, cycling classes and a dinner. What better way to keep involved inside and outside of work!
    Some interns and I at Cycle614!
    Some interns and I at Cycle614!

    Interns take on the Columbus Clippers!
    Interns take on the Columbus Clippers!
  2. Amazing Mangers: Seriously, everyone who works here is fantastic. I report to two amazing women in PR (Hi Maria and Kris!) and have learned more than I ever thought I could in one summer. I’ve gotten my hands on some amazing projects, but more importantly received invaluable feedback each step of the way. I can’t thank them enough for the coolest summer I’ve had yet!
Maria and I at DSW's carnival that raised money for United Way!
Maria and I at DSW’s carnival that raised money for United Way!

*Fun Fact: All employees at DSW get 30% off! And that’s off clearance too! DSW’s employee benefits are amazing…I’m going to miss this!

**Tip of the day: Set up lunches with people that you would like to get to know better! In a quick hour lunch you might learn about a career path that you had never even thought about. I haven’t heard a “no” yet!

***Embarrassing moment: So you know how in #6 I worked on a Pokémon project? Yeah, I still can’t believe that just came out of my mouth. Well, in order to have it work in stores, I first had to test to see if it work which involved me going to the 3 stores in DSW and playing. More than one sales associate caught me taking selfies playing Pokémon Go. Oops! I have to admit though, it was really fun! IMG_8667

Desk Must Haves, Tips & More!

I’m 20 years old, have no kids, and yet my roommates all call me “Mom.” Seriously, sometimes I answer better to Mom than my own name. One of those reasons is that I’m always the one to have a random Band-Aid or tissue in my purse. So why should my desk at work be any different? Check out my list below of the top 12 things to keep at your desk. Most of these can be found in mini versions in the travel section of Target or Meijer! And don’t forget to decorate your desk a little too, you may only be there for a few months but you won’t feel as temporary with a desk that feels like your own!

  1. Sweater: When the AC is on full blast the marketing department turns into the tundra. Bring a neutral color cardigan/sweater/jacket to work and always keep it at your desk for those extra chilly days!
  2. Cough drops & tissues: To avoid death glares from your coworkers when you are sick or have allergies, always have cough drops, tissues & hands sanitizer with you. Slide5
  3. Ibuprofen: This isn’t middle school anymore and you can’t go to the nurse’s office for your headache. You also probably shouldn’t go home unless you are actually sick. Keep some medicine in your desk just in case.

    More than once other interns have asked our GroupMe for help. It always feels great to be able to help them out!
    More than once other interns have asked our GroupMe for help. It always feels great to be able to help them out!
  4. Lotion: Lots of lotion. I’m obsessed with lotion. That’s all.
  5. Gum/Listerine strips/mints/toothbrush: You should have at least one of the mentioned in easy reach so when you decide to get the garlic potatoes for lunch everyone at your 1:00 meeting isn’t backing away from the conference table.

    Here is the little travel kit that I keep in a drawer at my desk with all my necessities!
    Here is the little travel kit that I keep in a drawer at my desk with all my necessities!
  6. Lint roller: If you have a pet or lint just seems to like you, make sure you keep a lint roller handy to keep you from looking like a mess. You can buy mini ones in the travel section of Target!
  7. Band-Aids: My shoe obsession has its consequences and besides eating my paycheck, sometimes it means blisters. Keep a few Band-Aids in your desk for the heels you know are a bad idea but look so cute with your outfit. Beauty over pain, right?
  8. Water bottle/travel mug: Don’t kill the environment with your 3 Styrofoam cups a day. Also, these have lids so you won’t spill. Or is it just me who still can’t be trusted with a cup without a lid?
  9. Plant: I don’t have a window near me and also am not great at keeping things alive so I opted for a bamboo stalk! Just pick something green to brighten up your desk!

    Check out my bamboo stalk in the corner! I think its probably only grown about 1/2′ in the past 2 months. Am I doing something wrong?!
  10. Pictures: So you can remember that one of the reasons you are working is to afford fun things with all your friends and family.
  11. Deodorant: I won’t go into detail but a few weeks ago I unpacked 18 boxes of super heavy promotional items, so….
  12. Food: This last item shouldn’t need an explanation, but I’ll give it one anyway. I love food. Food passes time and is delicious. Food makes me happy. Good enough?

    Not going to lie, this is one of the most delicious cookies I’ve ever had.


Share in the comments section what other “must haves” are at your desk!


* Fact: No matter your position, there is no greater feeling than clearing a printer jam that no one else can figure out.

**Tip of the day: Introduce yourself! Even if you still don’t know the name of the person who sits at the desk next to you, it’s not too late! You never know when you will meet someone who is from your hometown, college or who is just plain awesome!

***Embarrassing (long) moment:

As I’ve said before, I mail out shoe samples to editors of magazines. The mail is normally picked up from our building at 3:30 and taken to our mailroom to be labeled and shipped out. However, I had a last minute shipment that needed to be overnighted and I missed the pick up. So I called the mailroom and they said I could still drop it off, I said I would be there in 5 minutes.

After standing in the empty mailroom for 10 minutes, I suddenly realized that I wasn’t actually in the mailroom. Sadly, most people had left work since it was pretty late on a Friday. I finally found someone who told me that the mailroom was in the Distribution Center (building next to mine).

This is the DC!
This is the DC!

So I walked into the DC aimlessly for a good 5 minutes until I found a security guard. He told me to go outside and click the buzzer to the mailroom doors. So naturally I walked around the corner of the building, looked for another 10 minutes for the buzzer and came back in to tell the security guard that no button existed. Long story short, the security guard then escorts me to the mailroom and there definitely is a buzzer. Apparently I’m just oblivious.

The man who works in the mailroom that I called, now 30 minutes ago, saw me coming and told me he figured I was lost! Whelp, at least I’ll never do that again

Midsummer Internship Check-in

I thought it would be a piece of cake to fit in plenty of these posts, but I’m in week 8/12 in my internship and this is just my second! I’m sure you’ve been on the edge of your seat waiting, so don’t worry! Post 2 is here.

The internship experience here has been great here at Fidelity. Not much coding, mostly finding people(the right ones) to talk to so that I can create a useful final deliverable (a presentation for senior management on the project I’ve been working on). It’s been a ton of me finding out what I should be doing, the whole project has been directly in my hands really. This has been good and bad. Good because I have learned a ton and enjoyed the investigative process and freedom to choose my research resources myself, bad because it can be overwhelming at times when you hit a dead end. But I think that is similar to nearly all open ended internship projects where you either sink or swim entirely based on the effort you put in. I didn’t anticipate how much work my project would be at the start of the internship, which has lead me to playing some catch up currently, but that’s just one of the many lessons I have learned in this internship.

The biggest tips I can give are be ready for a large workload and stay focused (what I’ve struggled with the most) and use people as resources as much as possible (been a little better at this). I struggled to focus because let’s be real, it’s summer, and I’ve never spent a summer inside at a desk before. The first 6 weeks or so I didn’t do a good enough job seeking out work for myself, and coasted a lot of the time which put me in a bad spot now with four weeks to go. If I’d paced myself and asked my boss better questions in regard to how I could stay involved, I wouldn’t have to be working with a sense of urgency at this point in the summer. On the other hand, I’ve been very good at meeting people and going out of my way to ask questions and talk to higher level workers. I met with a SVP the other day and he gave me a lot of his time and advice that had helped him, mostly because I was the first intern to go out of the way to talk to him this summer. He saw that I am motivated and willing to learn, and gave me extremely helpful advice and face time. That’s really all it takes at the end of the day, not being afraid to meet someone new and asking as many questions as possible when you are with that person.

That’s all for now. If you want to contact me I put some contact info in the previous email. I’ll do one or two more posts this summer, feel free to give me feedback on how you think my writing was, and whether you enjoyed it or not. Until next time!

What TO Wear

Let me preface this blog post right away, this definitely isn’t what to wear to an interview and probably not even what to wear to your internship. DSW has a very casual environment, which I love. So here are a few of my favorite outfits I’ve worn to work!

Also, I’m not a fashion blogger or a model, this is just to show how DSW’s culture is reflected by what people wear to work!

  1. Yes, people at DSW wear jeans and not just on Friday! However, there is a difference between the jeans you’ve had for 4 years with fading and giant holes in them and jeans for the workplace. When in doubt, go for very dark denim!Slide2
  2. Dresses or skirt lengths should be longer than your fingertips. I pack and ship boxes a few times a day to various magazines and you don’t want any incidents when bending down to pick something up!IMG_8576
  3. When it’s extra hot outside, it’s extra cold inside. I keep a cardigan in my desk drawer for those over air-conditioned days! Pick something in a neutral color that can go with whatever outfit you have that day. Mine is grey!
  4. Some places have a strict closed toed shoe rule; luckily DSW is not one of them.Slide1
  5. DSW loves their athleisure shoes and so do I! A lot of places of work would probably frown upon you wearing your Converse, Keds or Vans to work but tons of people here do. It’s wonderful (especially since I have a standing desk), no stilettos for me please!

Remember that it is always best to overdress. It might be worth asking what employees typically wear before you start your internship, even a distinction from “business professional” to “business casual” can lead you in the right direction. Dress up for the first day and then take it from there! Each company has it’s own unique culture!

Fun Fact:

Each printer at DSW is named after a different shoe. I normally print to “Platform Pumps!”

Tip of the day:

Don’t sign an email “xoxo.” Apparently this has to be taught? I have indeed received this from a person who has been in the business world a lot longer than myself (don’t worry, they didn’t work at DSW). Seriously, I just met you through email and you sign your name with hugs and kisses?

Embarrassing moment:

I normally don’t listen to music at my desk but I had been working on a project in Excel for over an hour and needed to wake up. So, I plug my headphones in and click to Pandora (“90s, 2000s, Today’s Hits Radio” of course). The song goes on for about 10 seconds until I realize that I plugged my earphones into my computer and not my phone (see what Excel does to me?) and everyone heard me jamming to “Dirty Little Secret” by the All-American Rejects.