Two work experiences are required for undergraduate retailing majors: the practicum and the internship. (The practicum must be completed prior to the Internship.) The type of experience is dependent upon your career goals. For example, if you are interested in fashion merchandising, you are encouraged to seek an internship with a fashion-forward department store. If you are interested in eventually owning your own business, you may elect do a practicum and complete an internship with an independent retailer. By doing so, you'll be able to experience the buying, selling, visual merchandising, and employee training aspects of a business.
Practicum: RETL 295 (6 credits required for graduation)
The practicum is an introductory experience taken between your freshman and sophomore year. Most practicums are taken within the United States. The practicum consists of completing 300 work hours. Students also complete course work as part of the practicum experience. You may choose whether or not to complete your practicum while taking classes as well. The majority of practicums are paid.
Internship: RETL 495 (6 credits required for graduation)
Internships are required for students and may be taken during junior or senior years. The majority of students select internships within the United States. Students are also able to conduct an internship within their home town or abroad. The internships are full-time, consisting of 300 hours throughout one semester (usually during the summer). Most students participate in paid internships; however, some internships are unpaid and are completed for credit only.
Work supervisors are encouraged to provide a rigorous, structured experience for interns to work in a retail environment. Interns are expected to be well-prepared, punctual, and enthusiastic employees. The supervisor provides an opportunity to merge academic knowledge with real-world experience, allowing the intern to grow in a management-oriented environment. Typically, the work supervisor assists the intern in identifying an appropriate project that provides mutual benefit to both the intern and the employer. Feedback is very important to us; therefore, we ask that all work supervisors complete an evaluation of the intern's work performance by an agreed upon deadline.
A sample of companies who have participated in the practicum and internship since
Ralph Lauren, Target, Nordstrom, Kohl's, Walgreen's, Dick's Sporting Goods, Northwestern Mutual Financial, Sherwin Williams, Belk, Carolina Panthers, Diamonds International, Ann Inc., Bergdorf Goodman, Express, Tory Burch, and Spanx and more. A list of HRSM's 2017-2018 corporate partners can be found here.
Objectives of the practicum and internship:
- To provide students with opportunities to acquire skills in retail management and fashion merchandising
- To give students an understanding of the satisfactions and challenges of a career in the retailing industry
- To familiarize students with the overall structure, functions, and operation in the retail industry
- To teach the application of principles and concepts learned in formal course work
- To provide students experience in interviewing and position negotiating