a day in the life of a BA

So, here’s the thing– as you all know, I’m the ice cream business analyst here at Target. That’s fine and dandy…but my friends, my family, and even my boyfriend wonder “What does that mean you actually do all day?”

As it states on the header of this blog, Pulse’s purpose is to give readers an understanding of what daily life working at Target is really like. If you’re interested in being a business analyst (BA) at Target (which in my completely and utterly biased opinion I think you should be) here’s some insider knowledge on what your day would look like if you were a BA at Target.

A Completely Honest & Overly-Detailed Average Day in the Life of a BA:

7:30/8 AM: Get to work!

  • Most people take the bus in (Minneapolis has a great public transit system) and show up between 7:30 and 8. This is also one of the busiest times in the Target HQ caf & Target HQ Starbucks—everyone needs to get their caffeine fix!

8 AM: Approve Orders

  • Business Analysts are the ones that physically purchase the product that you see on Target’s shelves. We have systems that help us decide how much inventory we need, and we use this information to go in and strategically make decisions on what we need to buy. We’re responsible for staying within the budgeted amount of money we have to spend every month—so it’s critical that we keep a keen eye on our checkbook every day….especially when an average purchase order is around $100,000!

9 AM: Team Meeting

  • Being aligned with your team is key to the success of the businesses in your department. Each week you have a team meeting with the buyers, business analysts, and merchandise specialists in your department to ensure that everyone’s priorities are aligned to accomplish everything that needs to get done that week. Your team also will review forecasts for upcoming ads or other promotions to ensure everyone is onboard and in the loop.

10:30 AM: Store Run

  • Did you know there’s a Target store connected to Target HQ? It’s AWESOME. And…no surprise here…Target HQ employees are there a LOT. While you sometimes head to the store to look at your product and check out instocks…it’s oftentimes more of a fun break in the day to go pick up a few things you need (and when I say “need” I mean you go to get a Lean Cuisine for lunch and come back with a new nail polish, some Valentine’s Day candy, and a candle that just smelled so GOOD) since it’s so convenient.

11 AM: Vendor Call

  • Being a successful BA requires having a good partnership with your vendors that you order your product from. Weekly calls with vendors are a great way to proactively address issues and clarify any confusion over orders and upcoming promotions.

11:30 AM: Eat Ice Cream

  • Okay, maybe not every BA has this in an average day…but it’s an important part of my day so I included it. I mean, you have to understand the product you’re buying, right?

NOON: Team Lunch

  • I eat lunch with my team every day. No joke. People outside of Target oftentimes think this is odd, but it’s the norm in merchandising at Target HQ. We have team tables and reserved rooms where teams hang out and enjoy their lunch together. While no one is forced to eat lunch with their team, almost everyone does. People love their teams—and you want to spend time with your coworkers because they’re awesome. Also, most people bring their lunch, but there’s also a LOT of food options in the skyway (another fun Minneapolis perk- indoor raised hallways that connect most of the buildings downtown).

1 PM: Status

  • Development is really important at Target—which is why you “status” (or have a meeting) with your manager once a week to talk about your business, projects you’re working on, your own personal career development, and feedback for each other.

2 PM: Desk Time

  • PHEW. The b-e-a-tiful thing that is an empty block on your Outlook calendar is everyone’s favorite: desk time! A time to catch up on emails, work on things that are due by the end of the day/week, and perhaps do some instock troubleshooting or forecast an upcoming ad.

3 PM: Captain Touchbase

  • When you’re a BA for a category, you do more than just order and track product for your items. In your department you’ll hold multiple captainships, or areas of expertise that you lead for your department. For example, one of my department captainships is New Store/Remodel, and I help guide our department through the details of opening these stores. When you’ve been a BA for a while, you may even hold captainships at a larger division level.

3:30 PM: Coffee

  • Having “coffees” at Target is something that everyone at Target HQ does…even if they don’t drink coffee. “Coffee” is a term for an informal touchbase—usually used to network with past colleagues or with people in areas you’d be interested in working in one day. If you have a coffee, you’re most likely having it in Target’s Great Hall and you’ll most likely be meeting up at the famous “clock” (see picture!)

4:00 PM: (Another) Store Run

  • Yes… I know I went to the Target Store this morning….but c’mon. There’s a Target store right there. In the building. Two minutes away. HOW CAN YOU RESIST?!

5/5:30 PM: Head out!

  • At Target, work/Iife balance is something that’s really important to team members. Most people in my area leave around 5 or 5:30, and it’s completely normal to do so!

So…there it is. A day in the life of a BA at Target.

It’s fast-paced,  it’s fun, and it’s friendly – just like Target. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

 

  • Jackie He

    March 6th, 2014

    Hello dear Ms.Alaina. Thanks for the post “a day in the life of BA”. My concentration is in BA. My thoughts of bing a BA are about being in front of the computer researching, organizing, and analyzing products and data to design and assess in business models, but wow, I didn’t know in it some much fun being a BA at Target. This post has changed my view of a BA.

    Reply
  • Jasmine Marciniak

    April 3rd, 2014

    Alaina!

    Thank you so much for giving us an insight to your everyday life at Target! It sounds like an awesome company to work for! I am currently in the interview process for a Business Analyst position at Target HQ and I was wondering if you had any advice you could share about the interview and hiring process?

    Thanks again and I really look forward to one day working with you!!

    Jasmine Marciniak

    Reply
  • Jason

    May 2nd, 2014

    Hey Alaina, thanks for the article. I was wondering how much an understanding of statistics plays a role in being a BA at Target. Thanks!

    Reply
  • Laura

    May 21st, 2014

    Hey Alaina!

    This position sounds awesome! Your job play-by-play was very interesting to read. I hope to one day be in this role. It would be a dream come true!

    Thanks for sharing 🙂
    Laura

    Reply
  • Nakya

    May 22nd, 2014

    Hi! This post was very interesting! I just applied for this position, and I hope I get a call because it seems like the very thing I would love to do! Thanks for posting!

    Reply
  • Andrea

    July 23rd, 2014

    Alaina,

    Thank you for such a detailed description of what a day in the life of a BA is like! This definitely provided me with a better idea of what the job entails. I actually recently received the opportunity to schedule a phone interview this week for this position and I couldn’t be more excited!

    Thank you again!
    Andrea

    Reply
  • Anna

    August 27th, 2014

    Thanks Alaina for this description of your day! I have enjoyed reading through your blog posts. I love the insight into the Target working culture–it makes me more excited for the possibility of working at Target!

    Reply

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