CARLEN VEASEY ’18
Networking is a word you begin to hear a lot as you enter college. When you drop your bags down in your dorm, you’re on your own. In four years you’ll be on your own again, hopefully employed. For a lot of us, getting from point A to point B is a mystery. Somehow networking will help us get there.
For me, networking was bumping into the CEO of Urban Outfitters at dinner one night. We talked for a minute and I decided to pitch him an idea I had been working on. He told me to come meet with him next week at their offices in Philadelphia. I didn’t end up working on that idea at Urban; instead, they asked if I could start up a bike shop venture for them. So for the next three summers, I worked there as a buyer in their home division.
Asking a high school junior to manage a new facet of the Urban Outfitters business is a pretty big leap of faith. I had no business experience of any kind and was by far the youngest summer intern. At times it was incredibly overwhelming. I was relied on to run a business, and I certainly made mistakes along the way. That being said, I can now look back and take pride in something I built from the ground up.
The URBN summer internships are through Free People, Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters. URBN looks for students who are interested in management, finance and fashion, giving out internships with substantial roles in a company. The program also takes interns to visit stores, distribution centers and holds discussions with executives in the brands. I really enjoyed talking with some of these people over coffee and learning how they got to where they are now.
My internship was a little different from the ones in the URBN program. I took over a position and essentially worked as a full time buyer. My role was to go out and find products for the bike shops which would be in-stores and online. I would then figure out pricing, quantities and allocation.
After the first few weeks, I felt comfortable enough to set up meetings with some of the companies I was buying product from. One of the greatest moments of that summer was seeing the looks on the faces of a company who flew out from California to meet with an 18 year old kid.
That fall, I went back to school fully realized and launched the bike shop approved and launched, bringing back with me experience and a great accomplishment. That next summer I was asked to return to Urban as a buyer in the home division. I ended up having two more internships at Urban Outfitters. Along the way, I found great friends, learned how to startup and manage a business venture and took in three years of great experience.
To think that all of this would have never happened if I didn’t bump into someone while out to dinner one night is a scary thought. Networking takes many shapes, and that night for me, it was pitching an idea that would lead to shaping my career path.
CARLEN VEASEY ’18