Retailing Students

When the Classroom and Working World Collide

While I know I am not able to see your response, in your mind raise your hand if you have ever felt like you were sitting in a class asking yourself why am I here? Why do I have to take this class? Am I ever going to use this in the real life? How does this relate to what I really want to do?

This might be a blanket statement, but I think it is safe to say that we have all had this thought cross our minds at one point in time. Being in school for the vast majority of our lives at this point, it is true that there are going to be classes we take that will not necessarily relate to our future career goals. Although, heading into the final few years of your college career, the hope is that all of the classes we are taking will be beneficial and useful for whatever field we choose to go into.

Even though I have completed my junior year at college and I am about to embark on my final year of undergrad, there are definitely still classes where I have felt myself questioning the purpose. Yet, (and bare with me, this might sound cliché) after going through this internship I can confidently say that I have been able to find great value in many of the classes that I have taken in the Retailing and Consumer Sciences major. Yes, you heard me correctly! I have heard it from many people and have had the pleasure of experiencing it first hand that the program we have at the University of Arizona truly is catered and designed unlike most programs of its kind. When our teachers say that they cater and alter the classes to specifically meet the need of the retailing industry today, it’s true.

While have found value in many of the classes I have taken in the program, there are a few classes in particular that really helped pave the road to success for me leading into my internship this summer with Nike. These classes were RCSC 384, which was a class about leadership as well as FCSC 301, which taught me how to apply critical thinking to discourse where I learned the value of good presentation skills. The last class that has been the biggest help was actually an optional class that the Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing offered this past year that taught the basics of Excel.

Since my project has been so data driven this summer, Excel has become my new best friend. With the tips and tricks that the instructor and Jason Knode – a fellow intern with REI this summer – helped teach us last semester, the amount of time that it has saved me is unparalleled. Not to mention, it made me feel like a hotshot when my new friends in operations and sales would show me how to interpret the data using pivot tables and vlookups and I already knew how to use them.

In addition, I had the unique opportunity of working very cross functionally this summer in order to put together my project. This included reaching out to operations, sales, shoe developers, color designers, merchandisers, strategic planners, PLM’s, and sports marketers. With that in mind, the lessons I took away from Felicia Frontain’s leadership class helped me to navigate effectively knowing who my audience was and how best to work and communicate with multiple different personality types. In FCSC 301, Dr. Wood taught me how to have confidence in presenting and finding ways to mix your personality and passions into a presentation to make your message as clear and powerful as possible. This was very helpful in helping me this past week as I presented my individual project from this summer to some very important stakeholders within the Jordan Brand and allowed me to work past my stage fright.

Therefore, if you are reading this post right now and you are currently majoring in retailing and consumer sciences, take comfort in knowing that the directors and professors within our program truly are setting you up for success. There is a method to the madness! Just stick with it and enjoy the journey. It will help take you far in life!

As always, thank you for reading my blog, I apologize for those who have been keeping up with me each week that I have missed a post or two but there are still a few more posts to come, so stay tuned. Also take note that the opinions I express in this blog are that of my own words and should by no means reflect that of my internship sponsor.