Bachelor of Science in Supply Chain Management with Minor
Procurement Intern at Tapestry Inc
Aug 2018 to Feb 2019
The breaks at the end of each semester provided a much-needed reprieve for many students, me included. However, after the first few weeks I often found myself merely idling the time away. Not wanting to waste future semester breaks, I made it a point to find internships to fill these blocks of time. I quickly discovered that these internships were more fulfilling than I had initially thought.
Internships gave me the opportunity to explore new industries and potential career options. As the countdown towards my graduation approaches, the pressure to have concrete career plans has increased. Yet I was still uncertain about my post-graduation plans. “What are my strengths?” “What can I offer as an employee?” “What am I looking for in a career?” Though these questions weighed heavily on my mind, my internship experiences have actually given me more clarity on them. For instance, through my work experience, it occurred to me that I relied heavily on my organisational skills to liaise with multiple suppliers concurrently and I could add value to companies in the capacity of a procurement officer by sourcing for suppliers that would best meet their requirements. Regarding what I look for in a career, I learned that finding meaning in my work heavily influenced my job satisfaction.
In my most recent stint at Tapestry, I was offered a procurement internship as part of my Work Attachment (WA). It was exciting to be part of the international team behind modern luxury brands like Coach and Kate Spade. From my first day there, it was evident that there was something different about Tapestry. People I met seemed happy to be working there. Over time I realised it was because the organisation valued and believed in the development of each employee. Even as an intern, I was never made to feel like I was at the bottom of the organisational hierarchy or simply a cog in a corporate machine. Instead, an intern onboarding program was prepared for us. This included lunch with the senior management at which we shared what we worked on and were also encouraged to ask anything from career advice to work-related queries. The conversations validated our contributions as interns and left me with a sense of hopeful optimism that I too could one day be in their shoes.
At Tapestry, the purchasing function consists of different sub-categories and I belonged to the three-person global team for packaging. Compared to shorter internships I had undertaken during the semester breaks, I was able to learn more over seven months from participating in the entirety of the purchasing process, from sourcing to baseline creation, supplier visits, evaluation and negotiations. My supervisor also took the time to share with me how the value-addedness of procurement was not limited to cost-savings alone. Other procurement contributions include better meeting the needs of internal and external stakeholders, improved cash flow, reducing lead time and risk management. It was eye-opening to go through the supplier evaluation process and to understand how sourcing strategy comes into play.
Looking back, I can say that my Tapestry internship prepared me for my career, and I am thankful for all the people I met who made my time there such an enjoyable one. If you are about to begin your WA journey, approach it with an open mind and willingness to learn. Such experiences could allow you to realise your potential, discover your career aspirations and open new doors in the future – as it did for me.
Joy Poh (center, seated) with her colleagues