the grasshopper is now the master…

Who did Target put in charge of shaping the next generation of legendary buyers??? This girl.

…aaaand forty-some other talented merchants across all pyramids {grocery, home, hardlines, and apparel} and all channels {Target dot com and stores}. That’s right, it’s buyer training season and I’ve been paired with my very first buyer-in-training {or “BIT” since that’s easier to type}.  I realize I’ve never blogged about my own training experience, so now that I’m mentoring Jess {erm, that’s Jess in the non-first person… my mentee is also named Jess… which if I haven’t mentioned, 1 out of every 4 people in Small Appliances is named Jess… that’s how we roll…} I figure this is a great time to talk about Target’s world class training experience.

This isn’t your ordinary, run-of-the-mill, here’s-a-training-booklet-good-luck, type of experience. Since Target sources candidates from diverse backgrounds with different levels of retail experience, training is a comprehensive multi-week program led by our Merchandising Organizational Effectiveness team and supported by Subject Matter Experts Buyer Mentors {that’s where me + the 40 come in}. Every trainee is placed in a specific department, assigned a mentor to shadow, and completes a final project based on assortment strategy.

New to Target or new to merchandising? You get 9 weeks of training, with the first two weeks designed as “Pre-Training” to give you the 411 on Target culture, the merchandising pyramid, systems | tools | reports | etc, and basic fundamentals of retail financials + inventory metrics.

Not new to TGT and promoted from the business analyst role? You get 7 weeks of training, skipping the two weeks of “Pre-Training” and joining the 9-weekers at their 3rd week of training.

The 7 weeks of “Core Training” is a mixture of classroom sessions + in-department activities focused on a range of topics: product development + design, sourcing, operations, marketing, in-store presentation,  product safety, and distribution {just to name a few}. BITs also get a full week of negotiations training – complete with an actual negotiation simulation facilitated by our very own Business Partnerships & Negotiations team. And I’m not talking about a foo-foo-shee-shee fluffy role-playing activity… I’m talking about a real deal Holyfield negotiation. Let’s just say that I started that particular training week as a people-pleasing doormat and ended the week as a merciless, take-no-prisoners, wheelin’-dealin’ negotiations machine.  Muhahahaha… juuust kidding… sorta. 😉

Anyways… Jess, my BIT extraordinaire, is in the January BIT class {one of five this year} and in her fifth week. While I’m 99.9% sure I’m supposed to be the older + wiser one in this pairing I have to admit that I’ve gained a ton in this mentoring experience! There is definitely something to be said about learning by teaching… talking Jess through different buyer principles + practices has solidified my own understanding of buyer 101. And since Jess is an internal promote from the analyst role she brings a lot of great knowledge about merchandise planning that helps fill the gaps in my non-merchandising external retail experience.

Hmm… fishy… maybe I am still the grasshopper after all…


Interested in a career in buying, planning and brand management? Search and apply for jobs here.

5 Replies to “the grasshopper is now the master…”

  1. Thanks for providing some insight into buyer training. I had no idea you went through such an intense program, but it makes sense. And congrats on being a mentor! I’m sure you’re fantastic.

  2. I have been interested in working for Target for awhile now, and continue to look at new job postings daily. I was wondering how you apply for the Merchandise Specialist classes. I have tried to find them under career opportunities and have been unable to find them to apply. I would love any insight you might have for me! Thank you so much!


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