Corporate Finance Internship Provides Industry Insight

Last year, when I started at Fuqua, I expected to pursue a career in brand management; however, that changed after I attended various club symposiums and networking events. I decided to go for corporate finance and general management opportunities. I have an accounting background, an interest in finance and strategy, and a desire to learn about different functions at a company. After various interviews, I accepted a corporate finance internship at Lowe’s Companies, Inc. — the home improvement retail giant.

Since June 6, I’ve been working in the financial planning and analysis division (FP&A) of Lowe’s corporate office in Mooresville, NC. Aside from learning more about the retail industry, I am working on two different projects. I’m assisting the supply chain department by determining cost saving strategies for equipment at the distribution centers, and I’m assisting the merchandising department to help provide consumers with low everyday prices. Thus far, it’s been a whirlwind.

One thing that I really like about my internship is that I have had a great opportunity to learn about and interact with various business units at Lowe’s. At Lowe’s, FP&A provides many of the analytics that support the different business units, so it directly interfaces with parts of the business including store operations, merchandising, distribution, and new business development, among others. In addition to my intern projects, I have met with managers throughout FP&A to learn about specific roles and responsibilities within corporate finance and in the process, I have learned a lot about Lowe’s, its current strategy, and its vision for the future.

Aside from finance and accounting, my internship experience has touched upon other topics learned in Fuqua classes. Oftentimes, I hear about “lead times” and “inventory optimization strategies” (operations class), “current promotions” and “SKU management” (marketing class), and I am learning about Lowes’ vision for the future (strategy class). In addition, I frequently use my information management notes from Business Computer Applications class, to help with using Excel and Access.

Bonus Benefits 

race car
Lowe’s sponsors Jimmie Johnson and Team 48 in NASCAR!

There are also some great benefits to being an intern. Aside from the visibility into the business, there are networking events, trips to stores and distribution centers, volunteer opportunities, and even trivia nights. However, one of the best parts is that I am actually living in an extended stay hotel in Davidson. There are obvious perks, like housekeeping, an onsite gym and pool, and complimentary breakfast and dinner. The setup is ridiculously nice, though I know that I cannot get too used to this lifestyle.

I am also learning slightly more about NASCAR. Lowe’s sponsors Jimmie Johnson and Team 48, and I hope to make it to the NASCAR Hall of Fame before I leave.

Overall, my internship has been a great learning experience, and I am excited to see what this last week will bring. My last day here is August 10.

Other Internship Experiences

Some of my classmates (and fellow General Management Club members) also landed interesting internships this summer. You can read about some of them on the General Management Club’s blog.