This summer I’m interning at Walmart with the Proprietary Brands team at Sam’s Club. I’m working on two projects that will help further my team’s mission to build and strengthen the equity of private label brands. Private labels are increasingly important in the retail industry because they increase margin and create differentiation between competing retailers. The nature of my position is cross functional, which requires me to work closely with multiple teams such as merchants, packaging, product development, and insights. I have met some amazing individuals and have learned so much in just a few weeks.
With over 2.2 million employees and close to $470 billion in revenue, Walmart is by far the largest retailer in the world. The Home Office is located in a small town called Bentonville in the state of Arkansas and houses thousands of associates who support the 8,900+ stores around the world. While the scale of the company may seem overwhelming, it’s refreshing to experience the strong culture and entrepreneurial spirit that originates from the company’s founder, Sam Walton.
Understanding the culture at Walmart is best explained by the Annual Shareholders Meeting – easily my most memorable experience so far this summer. This year, thousands of store associates from around the world were invited to attend a “business meeting” that was hosted by Hugh Jackman and included performances by Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, and Jennifer Hudson. Essentially a rallying event, the Annual Shareholders Meeting celebrates the company’s success, which is mostly achieved by the hard work and customer service of hourly associates. Promotions were given and awards were honored. Yet the ultimate message of the four hour event is based on Sam Walton’s idea that ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things.
People at Walmart recognize the importance of working together and they know that great ideas can come from any person. I’m grateful to be working at a company that understands building and nurturing strong relationships is essential for success. I only have a few weeks left in my internship, but I am excited to see what else I can learn!