What It's Like to Intern at Mary Kay
What was started with $5,000 in 1963, Mary Kay is now a Fortune 500 company and ranks as the 15th largest cosmetic company in the world raking in just under $4 billion. Following a direct selling model, Mary Kay Ash set out to provide women with the opportunity to start their own business and foster financial independence. To put it in perspective, around 3.5 million people worldwide are Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultants, and thousands of people are employed by their corporate headquarters.
My experience with Mary Kay began this past May, when I moved into my first studio apartment in Dallas, Texas. It was small, smelled like cigarettes, and my clothes consistently maneuvered their way from my bedroom area onto the kitchen floor. After over-packing (as always), I decidedly left a quarter of my belongings in the bankers boxes I moved them in. My boyfriend and most of my friends were based in Houston for the summer and I got into a small car accident my first week leaving me driving a rental car for the next month. Thus began my first summer alone in a city I had only previously visited, ready to work hard and learn what it takes to work in the cosmetics industry.
Prior to starting I had only spoken to my recruiter via email and had a 30 minute interview with my future supervisors over phone. I thought that their department was just hiring a summer intern, and was surprised when I arrived on my first day that it was actually an entire structured intern program that included tours of manufacturing facilities, panels with C-level executives, volunteer opportunities, and making a ton of new friends.
Out of over a thousand applicants, there ended up being a 52-person intern class spanning almost every department. I was lucky enough to be selected as the only Brand Development Intern and spent the summer working on the Brand Development team for Global Color, Fragrance and Trend. Throughout my internship I worked primarily under my team's Assistant Brand Manager and Senior Brand Marketing Specialist. I spent a ton of time creating competitive analyses, presenting competitive marketing materials, testing new product and swatching ALL the colors. (And I'll go ahead and answer a constantly asked question, yes I got to see and sit in a Mary Kay Pink Cadillac!)
One of the coolest parts of interning at Mary Kay is working their annual Seminar in July. Seminar is basically a series of massive conventions for the Mary Kay sales force where they learn about upcoming product launches, listen to success stories, receive prizes and get pumped for their upcoming sales year. The 16-day event brings in an estimated $37 million into the Dallas economy and getting to meet and interact with the amazing diverse women who make up Mary Kay was one of the most rewarding parts of my summer.
Honestly, when I got the job at Mary Kay I truly had no idea what to expect. While applying to internships throughout the school year even some of my closest friends doubted that I would be able to land a job in cosmetics and begin pursuing my dream of working in the industry. This summer taught me so much not only about the industry, but also about myself. Mary Kay has a strong focus on finding life balance and making those around you feel valued and special. I now know that if given the option, I would prefer not to live in a studio apartment. Living 10 minutes away from work is ideal. And if you're kind to people, push yourself outside your comfort zone, and have a strong work ethic and desire to learn you will always get the most out of your internship experience.
My advice for anyone worried about finding an internship or job is to stay dedicated and work hard at what you love! I don't know where my career will take me in the industry after graduation, but what I do know is that the knowledge and lessons I learned while at Mary Kay have prepared me for taking it all on!
Special shout out to Rebecca, Marie, Audrey and Elisa - the amazing women who spent countless hours laughing with me and teaching me the magic behind the makeup.