‘Never underestimate any job,’ Catawba College business student says

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 21, 2017

Catawba College News Service

SALISBURY — “I will never underestimate any job I have again,” Catawba College senior Chase Loudin said.

Loudin had a part-time job that turned into a paid internship and possible full-time employment at Staples’ corporate headquarters.

Loudin spent 12 weeks this summer in Framingham, Massachusetts, working as an intern in Staples’ retail experience department, focusing on enhancing retail sales and customer retention. Staples, which sells office supplies and equipment, has in recent years become the fifth-largest e-commerce site in the U.S.

Loudin said he started out working at the Salisbury Staples store during his senior year of high school. He said that at that time, the job was “simply a way to earn money to take a pretty girl out on dates on the weekends.”

His original plan was to get a few years of customer service experience at Staples and leverage it somewhere else. Then, while a student at Catawba majoring in business administration with a dual concentration in economics and marketing, it occurred to him that “I had learned a lot about this company during my years there and perhaps there was more that it had to offer me.”

Thanks to an associates’ hub available in the Staples store where he worked, Loudin learned that the corporate headquarters offered summer internships. He applied and was one of 60 collegiate interns from across the country who were offered internships in Framingham. Of the 60 interns, he was one of a handful who had actually worked in a Staples store.

Loudin said his internship “gave me more insight into how the company functions and how the projects we developed would relay into the stores.”

He valued the 20 or so one-on-one interviews with directors and managers across the corporate office that he was able to conduct during the internship.

“Some of these were set-up intentionally as part of the internship process to help the interns better understand career options and paths,” he said.

Other one-on-ones were to help the interns gain insights into projects. Then there were one-on-one meetings that Loudin took the initiative to set up.

Back working in his part-time job at the Staples in Salisbury, Loudin says he definitely better understands why corporate leaders make decisions for the stores to implement.

“Every customer interaction and every sale that’s made is even more important to me now after my summer internship experience. It’s not just a part-time job for date money anymore; it’s a potential career,” he said.