I’m a Biomedical Engineering senior at the Milwaukee School of Engineering and President of my SWE Section. I had no idea the retail industry had career opportunities for engineers until I attended the NRF Foundation Student Program in January.
Through my school, I heard about an opportunity for computer science and engineering students to get free travel and hotel accommodations to New York City for the NRF Foundation Student Program, where college students learn about careers in retail. Unsure how I wanted to use my engineering degree post-graduation, I applied for the opportunity to broaden my scope and learn how diverse engineering careers can be.
One of my favorite Student Program experiences was the “Future of Retail: Powered by Technology” session, strictly for CS/Engineering students. We got to meet different retail technologists and hear about their company’s tech.
Target created apps to make in-store shopping as easy as shopping online. The Home Depot integrated technology into their stores with a “buy and pick up in lockers” idea. PVH Corporation walked us through rapid brainstorming and how their engineers make products move forward.
I will never doubt the need for engineers again.
Retailers need engineers to be successful and meet the demands of the ever-changing customer. Working for a retail company isn’t a career option most women in CS/Engineering consider – but we should. It’s a great industry for engineers hungry to learn and work with different people.
When I went to New York City, I was frustrated about not yet having an internship. I left with hope and interviews in my back pocket.
Any engineer who is curious about retail and unsure what to do with their degree should attend the NRF Foundation Student Program, Jan. 9-12, 2020. The experience reminded me of the SWE conferences that I have attended: full of inspirational keynote speakers and motivated students. The application for free travel and hotel accommodations is now open to computer science, data science and engineering students. I encourage SWE members to apply by October 25.
My best piece of advice is to keep your head up, and your eyes looking forward. There is always a chance for change. Take whatever opportunities come at you and jump on them. You never know what could happen, you might surprise yourself.
– Morgan Balog
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