Grace Xia – Nordstrom

Grace Xia - Picture 2

As a fashion lover, it was a dream come true when I received my offer to be an intern on the HR Communications team at Nordstrom’s corporate HQ in Seattle.

Whenever someone asks me what it is exactly that my team does at Nordstrom, I tell them it’s essentially when marketing meets HR. My team is responsible for effective internal communication within the organization. Since my focus at Foster is in Marketing and HR Management, I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect team to be a part of. Throughout the summer, I was tasked with a variety of projects. The majority of my time, however, was spent playing the role of a project manager. I loved learning the ins and outs of successful project management from my mentor and was excited to work with all the different departments – from Diversity to Talent Acquisition. I am incredibly grateful to have been looped into so many different projects this summer. To name a few, I got to work on Twitter strategy, filming for online interviews, and making my own video for the intern capstone presentation. The most memorable project during my internship was being in charge of an article that I wrote highlighting one of Nordstrom’s star employees. This was the first project I managed from start to finish – and the best part was spending a day at Studio N (where all Nordstrom products and models are photographed) and overseeing a full photoshoot for my article!

It wasn’t all work this summer – we had so many fun opportunities! Whether it was a Mariner’s game with all the interns or Ride the Ducks, we were all excited to get to know each other and introduce Seattle to the interns from out-of-state (and there were many!). We had a lot of field trips as well like spending a whole day with Nordstrom’s own product group, touring the Nordstrom Quality Center, working at a Nordstrom Rack store for half a day, and so on. Each experience made the internship that much more enriching as we experienced so many parts of retail.

What stood out to me during my experience was how unique Nordstrom’s culture really is. People are truly passionate about what they do, are customer obsessed and willing to do all that it takes to make the Nordstrom experience special, and value creativity and hard work. I had over 15 one-on-ones with people from all over the company during my internship and each person was happy to share their experiences with me and offer really valuable advice. One of those pieces of advice will always stick with me: do what you love.

My advice to any student who wishes to work at Nordstrom or any other large company would be to first make sure you want it for the right reasons. You can’t teach yourself passion. Also, choose a company that aligns with your personality, your values, and your lifestyle. Company culture is something we learn about in our management courses but until you’ve been a part of a company where you truly mesh with the culture, you don’t fully understand how valuable that can be. During your interview, answer the questions truthfully, of course, but frame them in a way that displays how you understand that company’s culture and demonstrates how you would fit into it.