Student Success Story: Kristen Sgarlato

Can you give us some background on the company you interned for and the role you played?

“I spent my summer with The Estée Lauder Companies, working in a small office for a brand subdivision called Tom Ford Beauty. At first, I was placed in the product education department, but as soon as my bosses found out that I was a marketing major, I started getting more into the marketing end of the business. Bouncing between the two departments, I took on several projects, many involving the development of marketing strategies to attract younger consumers.”

Did the internship meet your expectations of what a real-world, post-grad job experience would look and feel like?

“Definitely! I think going into any professional environment you have to expect both the challenges you’re going to face and the rewards you’ll reap through hard work. You get out what you put in. But I’m not sure I anticipated the lengths that companies are willing to go to connect to their employees and make them better. With chances to meet and talk with head executives and presentations on how to improve our résumés, Estée Lauder showed that they truly care for every member of the company at any level.”

Can you think of a time when you really wowed your supervisors? How about a time when you really impressed yourself?

“I remember finishing most of my assignments in the first two weeks. My boss was so thrilled that she ended up giving me projects taken on by full-time employees. So one day she called our entire team into a meeting and clued us in on the idea of setting up a Tom Ford Beauty booth downtown to promote our current and debuting products. The booth needed something to drive customer incentive, and that’s where we came in.

When the meeting ended, I rushed back to my desk and started brainstorming. By the end of the day, I proposed that the booth have an overview of the products followed by a brief quiz for the visitor. If the visitor could get a perfect score on the quiz, his or her name would be entered into a raffle to win a prize. My boss told me to email my coworkers the idea. After a day or two passed, I was nervous because no one responded to my email and I didn’t think anyone else was on board. But when I came into work, I was told we were going through with my suggestion. In this moment, I totally shocked myself and was proud that my contribution was supported as much as it was.”

Quick! If you had to put on word to the experience, what would it be and why?

“Life-changing. That has to be the word! Because before I had this opportunity, I wasn’t entirely sure how I would get my start in the marketing world. It was always a dream of mine to market for a beauty and cosmetics company, but it was Estée Lauder that gave me a shot and built up my skills and confidence.

Finally, where do you see yourself in your career five years from now? And what would you say to other students looking to find their niche in the job market?

“Well, hopefully with Estée Lauder! In just ten weeks I built an amazing relationship with the company. And I think what I’m doing now—still keeping in contact—is only continuing to strengthen that relationship. In a few months when the semester ends, I’ll be their first winter intercession intern, all because I asked if I could return during my break. I believe good things happen when you’re not afraid to take initiative and ask for opportunities. So if I had to offer my advice, it would be to figure out your passion, find a company or organization that shares your passion, and then show them what you can bring to the table!”