Student Scores Job as an Associate Allocator at Levi Strauss & Co. Prior to Graduation
After attending high school at Centennial High School in Bakersfield, California, where she first learned about FIDM via her school’s counseling center, Morgan Pence earned a BS in Accounting from Azusa Pacific University. “At the time, I was too skittish to pursue anything as daring as fashion,” said Morgan, who was born in Phoenix, Arizona. “As an adult, I found myself thinking back on my childhood dreams of working in the fashion industry and wondered what it might look like to make them a reality.” After falling in love with FIDM’s diverse program offerings and overall student experience, Morgan decided to go back to school where she has thrived studying Merchandising & Marketing. Levi Strauss & Co. has already hired the 2021 graduate who will work as an Associate Allocator for the iconic brand. We recently chatted with Morgan to learn more about her FIDM journey.
How did you choose your major? I chose the Merchandising & Marketing Professional Designation program because the curriculum covered a wide variety of topics that I knew would allow me to explore different careers within the fashion industry and hone in on my passion. I wasn't exactly sure which segment of the industry I wanted to enter into, so getting a glimpse of what each different role could look like helped me identify where my passion and skill set aligned. The accelerated nature of the program was also very attractive to me because it made the commitment to go back to school after several years post-grad much less daunting.
Tell us about your experience as a Merchandising & Marketing student at FIDM: As a Merchandising & Marketing student, I learned about the many different avenues for finding work in the fashion industry, gaining a well-rounded understanding of various roles, and how those roles integrate with each other in a business setting. The program curriculum also offered a strong foundation for creative, analytical, and writing skills as they apply to the fashion industry. One of my favorite classes was Sustainability and Social Responsibility taught by Susan Spencer. In this course, we learned about the impact of the fashion industry on people and the planet and were given tangible tools for becoming advocates for sustainability and workers’ rights in our professional careers. Sustainability is something that I am incredibly passionate about and I am thankful that my course curriculum provided tangible learning opportunities for how this can be practically lived out in the industry.
What have been the most valuable lessons you've learned so far? It's hard to state a singular lesson that I've learned while at FIDM, but the most valuable thing that I am walking away with are the relationships I've built with my classmates and instructors. The friends I have made while at FIDM are constant sources of encouragement and inspiration. They are those who have stayed up with me completing difficult assignments, dismantled my fears about finding a job in the industry, and have overall made my time at FIDM an incredible journey. The instructors I've had truly care about me and every student at FIDM, providing constant support for not only course curriculum, but also professional guidance and career advice. They are the reason I am graduating with an offer to work my dream job. I've always said it's the people that make a place and FIDM is a great place because of its people.
What excites you most about the industry and what do you hope to do after graduation? I love this industry because it is constantly changing. There is always some newness that brands have to adapt to, and adapt to quickly, constantly evaluating whether current strategies are effective and if not, how to change them. I like the idea that in some ways, every week involves refiguring out a brand's positioning in the industry and how to respond as a result. After graduation, I will be helping Levi Strauss & Co. in the management of their ongoing change strategies as an Associate Allocator.
Attend our Online Lecture Series event, The Art & Science of Fashion Buying, on Thursday, July 15, 2021, from 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM PDT. Register for the free event here.