Penn State

Wal-Mart stocks up on interns at Penn State

The Wal-Mart Supercenter on the Benner Pike.
The Wal-Mart Supercenter on the Benner Pike. CDT file photo

When it comes to stocking up and buying in bulk, Wal-Mart is usually where people go to do their shopping.

But when Wal-Mart wants to restock on interns and new hires, where do they go? They’re swinging by Penn State.

This year, the retail giant has picked up a five-pack of interns for the summer for their Bentonville, Ark., operations. Three are in replenishment, one in logistics and one in Sam’s Club merchandising.

That’s in addition to two recent hires, and a “fairly large contingent of recent graduates” already on the payroll.

“We have what is called the replenishment leadership program for students to come into post-graduation,” said Lauren Adams, manager of Wal-Mart’s campus relations team.

Penn State, she said, is known as one of the top schools for supply chain and information systems recruits.

“That has been our biggest focus,” she said.

Sarah Izraeli, a rising senior, is spending her summer vacation not fishing, but working with fishing equipment in the sporting goods department.

“Basically, I’m helping with out-of-season management,” she said. “It’s such a seasonal area. I’m helping with what to do with it when it’s not summer.”

She started June 1 and will spend ten weeks in Arkansas.

Adams said the internships are not the kind of programs where someone just fetches coffee and watches other people work.

“There is a week of onboarding and orientation, and then in week two, they are launching right into their projects,” she said. “We want interns that are resourceful and not afraid to ask questions to get the job done.”

That is another reason she said they have been drawn to Penn State.

“I think they fit well in terms of our overall corporate strategy,” Adams said. “There are a lot of students coming out of the program with work experience and internships, able to plug into our business and add value very quickly.”

Izraeli believes that Wal-Mart, in turn, is a good fit for her.

“They are leading the race in all things supply chain,” she said. “I think this will carry me very far in my career.”

That is also why she chose Penn State.

“I love the school,” the New Jersey native said. “I really wanted a big school and I'm a huge football fan. I always wanted to go there. I love the networking the school provides, and it’s really a very good business school.”

Wal-Mart’s interest in Penn State students goes along with what President Eric Barron has said for months about the university being a destination for corporate recruiting.

“We really like to see candidates that have a passion for retail in some way,” said Adams. “A little bit of humility and humbleness speaks to our company culture. And someone who is willing to roll up their sleeves and do hard work.”

Adams said they will do recruiting for next summer during the fall semester, with most offers being extended by Thanksgiving and accepted by Christmas. Graduate program interns are recruited in the spring.

“Do your research early and figure out if Wal-Mart is for you,” she said.

Izraeli has been happy with the fit.

“One of the things I've been most impressed about is they really practice what they preach about their customers,” she said. “I was skeptical, but I’ve come to appreciate it. I know from upper level down to lower level managers, they all really want to deliver low prices.”