From executives at major corporations to entrepreneurs with the next hot fashion app or vintage boutique, these graduates of FIDM, one of the top fashion marketing schools, are out there achieving in the industry.
Merchandise Marketing Graduate Molly Gahan has recently been named Assistant Buyer at Sears. We recently caught up with the 2015 graduate to find out more.
We hear you started at Sears as an intern. How did that role come about? Before I moved back to the Chicago area, I met with Jeanne Colliau to see if she knew any graduates in the area. I wanted to keep my connections with FIDM and also be in contact with FIDM Grads in the Chicago area. Jeanne gave me contact information for Katie Hartmann, who at the time was an Associate Buyer with Sears Holdings Corporation (SHC). After communicating with Katie, she told me about both the Buyer Apprentice Program (BAP) and the Internship program that SHC offers. Since at the time, I still had a year of school to complete, she put me in contact with the individual that is in charge of the internship program. The internship is a 10-week program in which you must complete a project assigned by your department. I worked on the Kmart Boy’s Toys team, within the Sporting Goods and Children’s Entertainment business unit. Throughout my internship, I was able to work very closely with my DMM, Buyer and Associate buyer. It is a beneficial to become exposed to the buying industry within a large corporation. It is also beneficial to be able to work closely with individuals that have varying responsibilities. I was able to get a glimpse of what their responsibilities are and how they achieve the goals that are set for them.
How did your new Assistant Buyer position come about? In the last few weeks of my internship, I began talking with my Associate Buyer and Buyer about the BAP position versus coming in at the Assistant Buyer level. I finished school in March, and the next BAP class didn’t begin until August. My buyer had gone through the BAP program and felt that there was significant overlap between the Internship program and the BAP program. She felt that I had received enough training and knowledge in the internship to be successful in the Assistant Buyer position. She also expressed that I had a strong understanding of the business from my schooling to be successful as an Assistant Buyer. When I received my employment offer, the recruiter left the decision up to me. I had received an offer for both the BAP program and as an Assistant Buyer. After much thought, I chose to accept the Assistant Buyer position as I did not want to wait five months to start. Having completed my Bachelor’s program in less than three years, the prospect of a five month waiting period before starting employment was not desirable.
What are you enjoying about your job and why? I am learning so much about buying and advertising for a large corporation. Working within the Lawn and Garden Business Unit has also challenged me. Before starting at SHC I was not familiar with any Lawn and Gardening products. I am enjoying learning about all of the products and the seasonality of the department. I am enjoying the challenge of learning all of the products. I have also learned how the weather affects the day-to-day business of my product lines. Given this year has been mild and rainy, I have observed how the team must adjust its sales plans and advertising plans in order to be profitable. My buyer also owns the snow category for the Kmart side of the business. Right at the time I joined the team, my buyer was preparing his assortment plan for the snow line. I enjoyed being able to see the process of choosing product and projecting sales.
How did FIDM help prepare you for your job? FIDM’s curriculum was extremely relevant to how the buying industry operates. The projects that I completed in the classes taught me all of the base knowledge that a buyer must have. Also, I learned how one must behave in any professional atmosphere. I am interacting with my DMM daily, and I must be able to interact with him in a professional manner. The teachers not only taught the class material, but provided insight into their experiences in the industry. Hearing about their experiences provided me with some background on what occurs in the industry. With the intense workload of all of the classes, I also developed time management skills. Each day I am presented with various deadlines, and I must ensure that I meet them in order to support our business needs.
Categories: Merch Marketing, Alumni News, Internships, Careers
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