Fashion and the MBA
Hillary Shor recruits for the Strategy & Business Development and Consulting and Assurance Services groups of Gap, Inc. These groups are relatively small (about 20 to 30 people per group). Almost all candidates have an MBA, although many are not hired directly as MBA graduates. Hillary says, "We actually look at what a candidate did prior to business school. The Strategy and Consulting groups look for candidates with consulting or industry experience (such as consumer products, goods or retail). Some of our candidates come from consulting firms such as A.T. Kearney and McKinsey."
Vault Profile: Judy Chang
Judy Chang graduated from the Anderson School at UCLA with a MBA in 2002. Her previous education included a BS and Master's in industrial and operations engineering from the University of Michigan. After college, she worked as a Program Manager for DaimlerChrysler to coordinate the launch of a particular program in the automotive plants. Judy said, "I would work on program launches for each car model year and style (for specific windshield specifications). I came to Anderson knowing that I wanted to do something totally different." Judy also says, "If you really want to change careers, getting an MBA is essential. Without my MBA, I don't think I would have been able to switch careers successfully. Fashion companies would have looked at my resume and questioned my interest."
At the Anderson School, her emphasis was marketing, and it was the first time she began to seriously consider a fashion career. She had worked at Armani Exchange during college and enjoyed it -- but didn't think that fashion would be a practical career choice. At Anderson, she joined the Fashion and Retail Association and began to do her research so that she could merge her interests and career goals. On campus, Macy's and Neutrogena came for interviews. Through the database, she found alumni and contacted them to speak about their experiences. Judy landed a summer internship in Planning at Macy's West. She worked there for three months in the summer and is now there full-time.
At Macy's West, Judy did two projects over the summer. (The department store Macy's is split into two regions and run completely separately. Macy's East is headquartered in NYC, while Macy's West is based in San Francisco.) To her surprise, Judy's operations experience was extremely relevant during the internship. Her first project was about handbag assortments. Her goal was to figure the optimum assortment level. Judy analyzed the number of styles bought for each cluster of stores, available table space for the handbags and discounted handbag sales versus regular stock.