Target Corp. fellowship leads to business analyst position

Chase Nowak secured a job as a business analyst at Target Corp. headquarters in Minneapolis prior to his senior year, thanks to a summer-long Cornell Fellowship with the firm. Nowak, from Colorado Springs, Colo., earned multiple all-conference honors as a distance runner in cross country and track, while completing majors in economics/business and geology and being named to several all-academic teams.

Chase Nowak
Chase Nowak ’12 at Target Corp. headquarters during his Cornell Fellowship.

At Target, Nowak will specialize in merchandise planning. He expects to be assigned to a specific perishable foods department where he will help the company tailor its offerings for specific markets and locations.

What did you do during your fellowship?
I helped identify the strengths and weaknesses of the current planogram proofing process. A planogram (POG) is a floor plan that is used to set up how Target products look on the shelf prior to the actual set that is seen in stores. My fellow intern team and I analyzed the current proofing processes of the POGs across the perishables division, which includes the fresh meat, frozen meat, deli, bakery, and produce departments.

Since Target is such a large retail company with many departments, some methods of proofing may not be known division-wide. In addition to creating a detailed “best methods” troubleshooting guide, we made several other recommendations, such as specific software updates, for the division director to consider in order to make for a more efficient proofing process.

What was the best part of your fellowship?

The most meaningful aspect of the fellowship was the responsibility that was given to me. My individual project was to identify strengths and weaknesses within a specific aspect of the deli and bakery’s supply chain and determine a way to make it better. At the end of the internship I had to present my findings to an executive, so the gravity of the fellowship at Target was unlike anything I have experienced before.

Chase Nowak competes in cross country
Nowak was named to three all-IIAC teams in cross country, and he also earned numerous honors in track.

What was best about running and studying at Cornell?
I have enjoyed the social aspect of the sport and the thrill of making and reaching goals. Running with my friends on the team has been a very healthy way to hang out, burn off some steam from the challenging class work that day, and also challenge each other to build up higher goals. If I had been on a team where there were not as many people or not as many competitive people, it would have been difficult to push myself to become the student-athlete that I am today.

In each class, typically, I either start or join a study group where we operate like a tightly-knit team for an entire month. To me, studying is like running and working in the sense that everyone is working together to help each other out.

Did the block plan work well for you?

The block plan has allowed me to study in a new way that is similar to the way that the world works. I have one main class, which is a full-time project in and of itself, and I also have other small commitments that add onto the workload of my day. I feel like this aligns amazingly well with how people operate within their respective careers. Because of this, I feel extremely prepared for what the world has to offer me after college.


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