Retailing Students

My Exploration of San Francisco Retailing

Gloria Andrews, a current student in the Retailing and Consumer Sciences program at the University of Arizona, shares her experience alongside a group of students who participated in a study tour to San Francisco.

It was a privilege to be selected to represent our retailing program on a study tour to San Francisco to meet with various companies and partners at their headquarters and flagships in the city. Over the week, we were graciously hosted by companies such as: Winston Retail, Dyson, Nestlé Nespresso, Target Open House, Allbirds, Shinola, Levi Strauss & Co., Macy’s, Gap, Walmart eCommerce, Williams-Sonoma, Inc., Pottery Barn, and Taylor Stitch. We had the opportunity to speak with employees about their current roles and their impressions of the company, to hear from UA graduates and their transition to San Francisco life in the retail world, as well as a founder and high-level executives on their journeys to their successes. I particularly enjoyed hearing from people in roles that I hope to be in one day. It helps to create your own vision when you can see what it looks like, believe you can do as they do, and project a possible future for yourself.

I was beyond excited to have the opportunity to explore San Francisco as well. Since this was my first time visiting this iconic city, I arrived a day early and took full advantage of our free time in the evenings to get some well-known sightseeing done. I was thrilled to see and walk the Golden Gate Bridge, enjoy Golden Gate Park and learn about San Francisco’s history. Fellow study tour travelers and I took a boat tour in the bay, under the bridge and around Alcatraz, we dined on fresh seafood and bread bowls on Fisherman’s Wharf, visited Lombard Street, and walked the famous Pier 39. Aside from all the fun we had together, we realized that we were also learning from each other in conversations about the retail industry and our individual perspectives from the company visits, and perhaps got just as much out of our free time as we did from the study part of our tour.

I thoroughly enjoyed this unique experience and I highly encourage everyone to apply for it. Truthfully, I had never considered San Francisco as a possible future career destination until now. Given the right opportunity, I would strongly consider it after this tour. The time we spent was inspiring and the immersion behind the scenes gave a wonderfully personal feel for company culture. This tour provided the opportunity to learn, to network, experience a new city, and create new friendships.  A special thanks to Kylee Vanek, Associate Director in the Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing, for helping organize this amazing trip.