Today we have a great guest post by Dan Tadiarca (Class of 2016)! Dan had the opportunity to spend the summer as a MBA Finance Intern at Nordstrom, one of the best fashion retailers in the world. Read more about his experience below:
If you enjoy shopping for things (clothes, food, tech, you name it) as much as I do, it’s easy to see how landing an internship at renowned retailer Nordstrom over the summer can make you giddy with anticipation. Known for its best-in-class customer service and a generous return policy, Nordstrom embodies a culture of collaboration and diversity. So when I received an offer for the MBA Internship in Finance this summer, I jumped at the chance, despite some hesitation around returning to a Finance role. That decision to keep an open mind and take on challenging opportunities led to one of my best summers in recent memory. Ever, perhaps.
I joined 11 other students from top-tier MBA programs across the nation, three of which were fellow Foster colleagues. We were placed into different teams across several functions, including Strategy, Marketing, Technology, and Finance, to name a few. Within those teams, we were assigned individual projects set to challenge our abilities while having a real business impact with the results. My main individual project was to develop a dynamic financial model that would facilitate decision-making in meetings with senior leadership. Building such a tool was challenging in that it required me to interact and gain approval from various stakeholders across different business units and departments within Nordstrom, not just within the main Finance group. However, this interaction inherently exposed me to different sides of the business, and allowed me to learn about Nordstrom through the eyes of folks who have been there for 20+ years. It was an amazing experience to be able to present my project to three of the directors in Finance, as well as a VP of Finance – it was so well received that they decided to put the model into action just two weeks later in a meeting with senior leadership.
But being an MBA intern at Nordstrom isn’t just about what you accomplish as an individual; as part of the program, the interns are grouped into teams of four to work on a Capstone project to tackle a current business issue facing the company. This format is extra challenging because it often requires teams to interview and learn from several different stakeholders and resources, from salespeople to regional managers to leadership in the different business units – all while learning to function seamlessly as a team and managing each member’s individual project timelines. Although I can’t reveal many details of my team’s Capstone project, I can say that it was a technology-focused business problem that was so key to the company that we presented our final recommendation to Blake Nordstrom himself.
Nordstrom has developed a strong MBA internship program that focuses on providing a comprehensive look at the company, with the individual and Capstone projects being bolstered by several lunch and learns with key individuals like Olivia Kim, Director of Creative Projects, and Mike Koppel, CFO of Nordstrom. Managers maintain a healthy balance between challenging interns with projects that force them to stretch and providing the support and learning opportunities along the way. I also have to say that never have I worked in a company before where everyone is so willing to take at least 15 minutes out of their day to share their personal journey at Nordstrom. In all, the summer internship was a wonderful experience, and I made a great number of friends and connections throughout!
About the Author:
Dan is coming to Foster off a 3.5 year run doing brand and media strategy for Jack in the Box at Horizon Media, an ad agency in Los Angeles. Prior to that, he worked as a CPA, focusing on tax services for hospitality and real estate partnerships. At Foster, Daniel is using his advertising and accounting background as a foundation for getting a deeper understanding of business and broadening his marketing skills. Outside of the classroom, he’s President of Foster Talent and loves tinkering with graphic design.
Read more about other amazing Foster internship experiences here!