8 weeks down, 2 weeks to go. Wow, summer internships fly by. At this point, I’m getting ready to gear up to head back to that lovely waterfront nook that we call South Bend. And, honestly, I’m excited.
Sears has done a great job of welcoming its interns, immersing them in their business, and turning them loose. I actually delivered my 1st of 2 final presentations this past Thursday morning (@ 7:30 am, yikes) in front of the President of my business unit (division) and the rest of the leadership team. I thought it went great. Next Tuesday, I also will deliver a similar presentation to the Sears Holdings Corp CFO (Bill Phelan, a proud ND alum and supporter) and finance leadership team. Two different audiences, and the moral of this story is to Know Your Audience.
I was confident with my data and my findings, but it is always difficult presenting about a business… to those people that lead that business. At Thursday’s presentation, there were some really good questions asked of my analysis, and a lot of times I had to just admit that certain issues were not included in the scope of my project, which my managers understood. I opened up the 30 min presentation by encouraging questions to be asked throughout, turning it into more of a conversation than a presentation. I credit Viva for turning me onto this presentation method and preparing me for it.
Next Tuesday’s presentation should be a different feel. The Finance guys won’t know nearly as much about the ins and outs of the Footwear business as the Footwear guys… but they’ll know more Finance (that sentence was painful to write, but it’s true). I’ll need to touch more on the financial impact of my recommendations, and the risks/sensitivities of my findings.
One last thing I’ve learned is how frequently career paths change. Among the Senior Leadership team at Sears, I’ve met a former McKinsey Director, former Lehman Brothers directors, former IBM leaders, etc… and Sears is basically just a retailer. I’m encouraged by how broad a path these leaders have forged.