Tales of having two supervisors

Having two different supervisors means two different managing styles. While it was a bit confusing at first, I learned to adapt and act differently depending on which supervisor I’m interacting with them (and yes, I got one I prefer but shh.)

With Corinne, she sits right beside me so for the beginning of the internship she was the one I interacting with the most but that has changed now. If I send her the complete work for critique, she tells me “letter-by-letter” what needs to change. So with Corinne is often a one fix process. On the other hand, Yan tells me what needs fixing but doesn’t tell me what to do with it exactly. She allows me to figure it out on my own and fix it. Additionally, Corinne sends the work for critique to Callie herself while Yan asked me to do send it myself.

If I were to consider who my mentor is at the internship, I would definitely have to pick Yan. She often tries to challenge me and push me. She’s the one that gives me bigger responsibilities as the internship progress. For example, she was the one that tasked me with creating the entire week social media assets and weekly emails. Whenever a need task is giving to me by her, she calls me over to her desk and takes time to show me different tips on the task. As I mentioned, Photoshop is not my strongest skill but I’ve learned so much already with her tips! Also, as she pays extreme attention to everything, I’ve learned to develop a great eye for details (something that I used to lack in.)


Pacing yourself is key.

When I first started the internship I had one goal in my: to have a good intern’s use of time. I would try to finish as many tasks as I can quickly. Because I only work two days I had to learn to develop good time managing skills. For example, if I had a task that was due Wednesday I knew I had to get that done before I leave on Monday. But I made some mistakes.

Since I was so focused on finishing everything quickly, I would often rush projects and not even double-triple check before I sent out to review to Corinne and Yan. This proved to be super inefficient. Sure, I would get things done super fast but once I got feedback from my supervisors I had to make so many revisions that it would take a long time before it was officially done. I even started feeling like I was hindering my supervisor’s workflow as it was a constant back and forth on revisions that I needed to make. And the thing is that they never put any pressure on me to finish everything super quickly so I decided it was time to reevaluate my time management.

This is where knowing how to pace yourself comes into play. Soon, I began to slow down on the projects and make sure to triple check everything. Sure, there were times when I was too slow but after a week I found the right balance. Since I found out the right pacing, my workflow began to be efficient. Another thing I learned was to always show multiple versions as you can anticipate what changes the supervisor would’ve asked for had you only sent one version.

One thing to note is that as the internship progress, I’ve gotten less and fewer things I had to change on the projects I sent for feedback. I’ll take that a good sign that I’m improving!


What? I have to be there for 9 hours?

I work 18 hours a week in two days… Yea, I’ll let that sink in. So when I’m at the internship, I am there the whole day. Although work hours vary through departments, the creative team hours are 9:30am-6:30 pm with a flexible lunch break time. And as mentioned previously this only applies to my two supervisors and I as we’re the ones that are always there. But even this time is loose as I noticed that even Yan and Corinne sometimes come in around 10 am. So, there have been a few times where I’m the first there.

So, you might be wondering what do I do then if my supervisors aren’t there? Well, I still get to work! Since the company uses this website call Asana, I often have multiple tasks assign for me with various deadlines so I usually get started on whatever is due first. Thus, since I always have tasks line up, the 9 hours fly by (hurray for that!)

The way I work is that I complete the entire task and then ask for either Yan or Corinne to review the work. Even though they sit right next to me, I don’t verbally ask them to review my work. I slack them! At first, I found it so bizarre to message someone when they’re right next to you but then I learned to understand the benefits of doing this. Since everyone is working on their own projects they have the freedom to not have their workflow disturb and they can review the work whenever they have time. Yan and Corinne are usually really fast at giving me feedback though!

Once I get the feedback I make the necessary changes. And depending on the task assigned, it has to go for a final approval with the Art Director, Callie, even though when she’s not present in the office (which is most of the time) This often means even more revisions! This was a bit difficult at first as I would have different opinions being told to me. For example, there was a time I was working on designing the weekly email and Yan wanted me to zoom in a photo that was used even though I mentioned it would look weird like that. So, when it’s sent to Callie for final approval, she mentions that it looks weird and it should be zoomed out… so I had to revert it to how I originally had it in the first place. I guess this is where the role of the art director comes in as Callie had the final say on it.

First day, let’s get down to business.

I didn’t know what to expect on the first. I got a vague email from HR coordinator informing me to go in at 11 am and because it was Monday I was to dress “elevated casual” meaning you can wear jeans (no rips) and no running sneakers. Other than that, nothing else was said so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

When I go in, I finally got to meet the HR coordinator, Jessica, who I had only spoke on the phone or email before. She was going to be the one in charge of giving me an orientation. First, she showed me around the office and then we sat in a conference room where she showed me presentations on the company’s values, dress code, etc. She explains that every day there are different “dress codes.” On the days I work I was to dress elevated casual (Mondays) and business casual(Thursday.) I enjoyed this as I was scared I had to dress in suits/super professional when I was to go to work every day. She ended the orientation by letting me know my direct supervisors would be the two graphic designers I interview with, Yan and Corinne, but she would be the one to take care of my time sheet so that they can focus on another aspect of my internship.

After sitting down with the IT manager, Christian, he walked me through the process of setting up my workspace. I was giving a laptop and a big display monitor to work with. Also, lots of digital set up. I gain access to my personal work email, slack, Dropbox and adobe creative cloud. One thing I never heard about was this website called Asana, this was where I would be getting all my creative tasks.

Then it was official the start of my internship! I noticed right away that the primary application used for most of the projects giving is Photoshop. It is not my strongest one so I hope I can learn more about it. I was then given my first tasks. Yan and Corinne were really friendly and said I can take my time with it and if I had any question to ask them. I was to crop and retouch photos to specific dimensions to be used for the website. To be honest, these tasks were very simple so all I was freaking out a bit, thinking “Is this all?” But I had hoped that I would gradually get more responsibilities as the internship progressed.


There’s a snack bar…

MM.LaFleur’s office is located on the 3rd floor on a building smack right in Wall Street. The best part about that? The train is only one small block away from the office. Once you enter the fancy building, you have to use a keycard in the lobby to go up to the office.

The office is an open work space. It’s like a giant loft where each department has a “section” perse. There are no cubicles or anything that prevents you from interacting with the person next to you.The conference rooms have glass walls so you can see what’s going on inside at all times.  Every other Thursday, there’s something called “All Hands” where everyone from the different department has a meeting updated everyone discussing relevant information on what’s happening with the company. This creates a very transparent workspace.

My favorite spaces in the office are the kitchen, that’s stock with everything you can think of like a coffee machine, detox water, and beer (yes beer.) and a giant closet full of snacks! An interesting spot in the office is the Pergola, which is the quiet area that you can go to when you want to get away from your desk.

As for my “section” I am on the Creative Team which is located on the very back of the space. The Creative Team is very small compared to the other departments in the office so it’s often quiet in our area. The team consists of two graphic designer Yan and Corinne, the Art Director, the Production Manager, the Visual Merchandising Director, and myself. Although there are 7 of us on the team, the only ones that are always present in the office when I go to my internship are Yan and Corinne who are my supervisor. The Art Director and Production manager are often in photoshoots or meetings and aren’t always in the office. As for the Visual Merchandising Director, she often at different locations of the showrooms and pop ups.

Overall, the office it’s very different from what I imagined “corporate office” to be like, you often hear the laugher and no one looks like they hate their job.

Wait, but how many interviews?

I knew the best thing to do was to attempt to get an internship before the semester starts. So, I did what I know what to do best… search the web! Upon a simple google search, I noticed there were a lot of different resources for job hunting and even some dedicated to internship specifically. From there I made different profiles and began applying everywhere. The site where I applied through the most was Indeed.com.

Fast forward and the start of the semester is slowly creeping out and still no luck (insert scream emoji) That is until I received an email from MM.LaFleur! I was contacted by the HR Coordinator to set up an initial phone interview. Although I had experience with phone interviews I was admittedly nervous about it. However, I shouldn’t have been nervous at all as it was a very quick (maybe 10 mins.) interview where she asked me questions like why did I choose to apply to that company, talk a bit about my previous experience, etc. Things went well as she told me she would be emailing me to set up an in-person interview.

The in-person interview was the most important part of the process. After setting up a date with the HR Coordinator I was to be interview by the two graphic designers of the company. As MM (will use MM to refer to MM.LaFleur for rest of blog) is a company dedicated to the professional working woman, I knew I had to dress professionally. On the interview day, I arrived 10 minutes earlier than the scheduled time. After checking in the lobby and going up to the 3rd floor I was greeted by the receptionist/office manager who alerted the interviewers that I was there and offered me water that I declined as I was too nervous to even drink anything.

I was greeted warmly by the two graphic designer, Yan, and Corinne who guided me to a small conference room. Although I brought my own laptop and copies of my resume they already had prepared that on their end for the interview. But it doesn’t hurt to be safe, right? The interview was very relaxed. They first asked me questions about things that were on my resume, they like the fact that I had experience with photography. They asked me a question about why I choose MM and threw some curveball questions like what brand I believe MM could learn from (creativity wise.) Then the fun part came, they pulled up my portfolio and asked me to talk about some of my work. The one they enjoyed the most was the photography piece on the hot sauce Tabasco. They interview wrapped up as they asked me about my schedule and how many days I will be able to work. They informed me that since I was the first candidate they interview for the position and they still had some people lined up I can expect to hear from them in about 2 weeks. Overall, that was the best interview I ever experienced as it felt very natural and I didn’t stumble upon my words (which I tend to do when I get nervous on interviews) so I was hoping for the best.

After more than a week had passed, I started to lose hope so I continue to apply to other places as well. Then, I received an email from HR manager saying they wanted to move on with the interview process and wanted to set up a phone interview with the Art Director of the company. It was a quick 10 min conversation where the Art Director asked me things like what I hope to gain from the internship, etc. A few days later, the HR manager wanted to schedule another quick phone call with me. It was to offer me the job! She outlined the number of hours I’m expected to work and we agree on the hourly rate (yes, I was lucky for this to be a paid internship!)

Although it was a very long process I was happy to (finally) be the Graphic Design Intern at MM.

Welcome to MM.LaFleur!

MM.LaFleur launched in 2013 with the goal of “taking the work out of getting dressed for work.” They believed that professional woman has #BetterThingsToDo (the hashtag they use.) In only a few years the company has expanded and grow to be successful. In 2016 they were among Top 10 Innovations That Made Women’s Lives Better according to Fast Company. They have showrooms in Chicago, New York, and Washington D.C. as well as pop up stores in various locations like San Francisco, Boston, Atlanta, among others.

As for their corporate office, they only have one which resides in New York City, where I intern! The corporate office is located on Wall Street. The office houses around 100 ish employees with different departments like Finance, Marketing, Engineering, etc. I am on the Creative team, which is in charge of all design deliverables of the company.

As MM.LaFleur is not a creative agency/company, the role of the Creative Team is to deliver assets that stay within the brand and that’s where I come in. I’m excited to see how I grow as a designer.