Student Spotlight: Katie Fan

As a freshman, Katie Fan x’20 had plans to become a biochemist. But after taking Chemistry 109 and Calculus 234, she reconsidered whether that was the right path for her. Now a senior double-majoring in Psychology and Retailing and Consumer Behaviors, Fan is looking forward to a career in business, marketing, or market research. In this Student Spotlight, she shares how two summer internships significantly shaped her professional path.

My first internship was in consumer insights at Fiskars, and my supervisor was the one who suggested that Psychology would be a great accent to my Retailing and Consumer Behaviors major. They complement each other well in understanding and connecting with consumers.

My psychology major exposes a totally different way of thinking than my other major. I took Psychology of Perception with Professor Karen Schloss which helped me think about color and stimuli; not a lot of pure marketing people would consider those. So I’m not only considering how a company markets to a consumer, but also how a consumer experiences and interprets that marketing.

UW-Madison student Katie FanThis past summer, my internship at Under Armour had me working in talent development with HR in the global contacts center, where we help customers who want to speak to a live person. I got to sit in on a training class and watch the new hires before they all got moved over to the phones. I made surveys from my consumer insights background, asking what they liked about the training session, what could be better, what was missing. Afterwards, I created some new training material for the following session. They ended up partnering with another company to create an additional contact center in the Philippines. All the materials I worked on with my supervisor were used to onboard people there. It was super cool to experience something like that.

What advice would I give to undergrads considering an internship? Our classes are so great, we learn so much, but there’s so much more you can learn from being in an environment where you might work someday. There are so many little things – how to conduct yourself, how to manage your time, how to network and brainstorm with colleagues. It’s a whole different way to applying learning that’s unmatched in the classroom.

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