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Sun Devils at Work: W. P. Carey student takes skills to Frito-Lay

December 13, 2018

Ashley Hew is a junior studying management and marketing at ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business. Last summer, she interned with Frito-Lay and she already has an internship lined up for the upcoming summer.

Find out why she is consistently contacted by recruiters and what advice she has for fellow Sun Devils.

What was your internship and where was it located?

It was a sales management internship with Frito-Lay in Phoenix.

What was a normal day like?

I got to work on the national intern project; there are two intern projects … you can be given a local project or the national project that they send to managers nationally. This year’s national project was Walmart, and my role was going to Walmart stores and talking to managers to “sell in” for space. This means getting them to place product on the shelf space that Frito-Lay pays for. The goal was to get sales up from last year.

I went to 16 different Walmart stores, talking to managers, scoring the store, walking around to see if the displays were neat, in the right place, or if a competitor was right next to us, how we were going to gain that space back. I had to talk to the managers about how we need to increase our sales and why it’s important for both them and us to hit that plan.

What was the most useful or interesting thing you learned?

There’s a lot more to stocking chips than physically going to stores and putting them on the shelf! One checkout stand at Walmart can be rolled over three different times in a week — all the chips that went in on Monday can be gone on Wednesday and again on Friday.

I would say I didn’t have a typical day at work because every day was different. The best part about Frito-Lay is that you’re never micromanaged, so you can do independent work. You can also go to anyone and anyone can go to you — you can talk to the head honcho there.

Going to the field was exciting because every day I would see how other people do their work, and I could interact with a new person every time. [I figured out] which managers to talk to and when, who not to talk to and who has the power to give me that shelf space back. I really learned to adapt.

What are your career aspirations?

I want to do corporate-level selling of products or marketing or merchandising items. I hope to work for a top-10 company in CPG (consumer packaged goods) or a big company in general. Working for a large company, who doesn’t want the benefits and who doesn’t want to say they work for a company that everyone knows?

For me, company culture is the biggest thing I look for in employers, like who the people are, how they got their goals and who around there is going to help them reach those goals.

At Frito-Lay, no one was ever scared to talk to me, even the people who were very powerful in the company wanted my opinion. That’s what’s so cool is that they trust you to make decisions and give your opinions.

How do you think your internship will help you achieve your career goals?

I definitely learned about the CPG market. You think it’s just putting chips on a shelf but everything is systematic and supply-chain based. I learned how to go out of my comfort zone, how to adapt to new managers and how to build customer relations. It’s funny, they call everyone customers, like the direct managers who purchase products, but consumers are the people who eat the chips. I learned about language like that that the CPG industry uses.

Overall, I got to learn my passion, something that’s fun with good culture and something that I don’t mind doing every day and would even work overtime for.

What advice would you give to other interns?

Never think that someone thinks you’re incapable. You’re selected because someone believed that you were the best of the best. In your first internship especially, never be afraid to ask questions. Even if you think it’s stupid, someone else might think that’s a new fresh idea or a new set of eyes on a project or a way to look at it from a millennial’s perspective. You sharing your input is very worthwhile for them. Never think that your boss looks down on you — they see you as an equal.

How did you get your internship?

I decided to go to the career fair because I heard that was the best way to connect with companies is by going. I also got my first internship as a freshman there. The general process was that I went to the booth, talked to a representative, did a few interviews and was extended an offer.

What tips do you have for finding an internship?

Make a LinkedIn profile and use Handshake — I love Handshake! All four of my internship offers for this summer came from Handshake. It’s fun because you only upload your resume one time and then you can see which recruiters look at your resume and if they approved it. Because my profile is complete with classwork and projects, recruiters email me all the time. They’ll ask for my LinkedIn; they’ll reach out just because your profile is complete.

A fun tip is to take a picture anytime you dress up differently for an interview and if you like it, update your picture. The notification on your feed will show your connections that you’re active.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m interning as a business management intern in Minneapolis for General Mills. I’ll be working on a project for selling a product, analyzing data and then going to one of the corporations and presenting why they should take on our new product.