On Wednesday, October 4th, SCAD students gathered at Poetter Hall to hear what it takes to be an intern at Kohl’s, one of the leading giants in the department store industry.
Jonathan Carnehl, Art Manager for the men’s clothing department, immediately made it clear that the internship is not just for fashion marketing or design majors when he shared his own academic background: “I thought that illustration was [only] for children’s books.”
As Carnehl discovered at Kohl’s during six years of employment, the majority of the product development team is actually comprised of illustration majors.
The Art Manager of the Home department, Eileen Tabor, expressed a desire for openness when she explained that they are always searching for a variety of skills: drawing, painting, watercolor, Photoshop, or Illustrator. Tabor listed a few top qualities that an applicant should possess, including being a good corporate fit and possessing raw talent.
In other words, Kohl’s seeks interns ready to collaborate in a group, able to handle feedback regarding their work, and ready to keep up with the pace of the Kohl’s environment.
Tabor also stressed the importance of being your most authentic self when presenting ideas, whether that be in the form of a professional portfolio or a personal sketchbook.
What are the benefits of interning at a large company like Kohl’s, you may ask?
Well, the internship occasionally serves as a direct pipeline to a full-time job at the time of graduation. The experience will also help prepare interns for heavier workloads and faster paces in the future.
With 4,000 employees (1,200 in the product development department alone), a myriad of personalities, methods, and ideas are on full display. Because Kohl’s designs for 10 to 12 exclusive brands, students are able to expand their horizons and even discover new interests. No one is confined to one division. According to the Kohl’s team, maintaining an open and teachable mind is imperative when considering an internship with them.
When asked what they considered to be an intern’s greatest strengths and most important skills, Carnehl expressed the need to have a skillset that cannot be taught: creativity, passion, drive, and vision. Carnehl also illustrated that the most valuable thing you can be is a sponge: soak up all the knowledge, lessons, and inspiration you can from your manager, peer coach, and fellow colleagues.
Overall, Kohl’s is looking for talented, passionate, and flexible students. Which sounds familiar, but there is a great addition: the internship is paid.
Written by Ka’Dia Dhatnubia
Cover image courtesy of Kohl’s Department Stores, Inc.