HIGH POINT, N.C., Aug. 28, 2017 – High Point University junior Mandy Engelman spent the summer immersed in analytics and furniture trend forecasts. Her internship with AshComm LLC, a division of Ashley Furniture, introduced her to the world of e-commerce and helped her combine her communication skills with one of the company’s vital sales functions.
Engelman, a strategic communication major and sales minor from Pinehurst, worked with the site merchandising team in the company’s Tampa office. This group manages all of the assets, analytics, product placements and third-party vendors that make up Ashley Furniture’s e-commerce website.
“This summer was nothing but a dream,” Engelman says. “I was treated like a valuable member of the team and was able to work on real projects that were published on the website.”
During the internship, she took part in a three-day Sales Force Commerce Cloud training, which she says will help in her future job search. She then combined her writing skills with what she learned to author two blog posts for Ashley Furniture’s website. She also presented a competitive analysis of a July 4 sales event to her team and company executives. Some of her suggestions will be implemented during an upcoming Labor Day sale.
“A big part of my job was analyzing our competitors and trend forecasting,” she says. “This was the most fun, as I was able to online shop and monitor emails and advertisements as well as website layouts.
“During my 11 weeks there, my team achieved the third and sixth highest sales days and seventh highest sales week for online in company history.”
Engelman, a Media Fellow at HPU, says the university’s experiential learning, emphasis on career services and caring mentors helped her approach her internship with confidence and professionalism.
“In my classes, I’m writing press releases, creating commercials, using industry software, learning negotiation skills and how to strategically ask questions to get desired results,” she says. “Stepping into your first meeting with company executives is always nerve-racking, but I felt confident in meetings and eventually leading meetings because of the practice I’ve had at HPU.”
Initially hesitant to take on an internship in e-commerce, Engelman says the encouragement from Doug Hall in Career and Professional Development and professors Kathy Elliott, Larry Quinn and Phil Watson gave her the necessary nudge to go for it. They helped guide her through the application process, ensured she met the right people from the company, connected her with alumni and kept in touch with her over the summer.
“Looking for internships during my sophomore year was extremely challenging, and I was up against strong competition from juniors and seniors,” she says. “But when it comes to mentorship at HPU, I’ve never heard the word ‘no.’ They’ve always told me that I could. They’ve provided me with countless career advice and have changed my mentality on what I see for the future. They keep me dreaming.”