Fashion, Retail, Consumer Products, Hospitality

Fashion is a large and complex industry encompassing design work (fashion designer or buyer of materials, such as textiles) as well as a variety of business-related functions (developing, managing, selling, and accounting for products and services). Retail involves the sale of goods or commodities directly to consumers. Typical career paths and training vary depending on both the company and its industry segment. The hospitality industry has many opportunities all focused on customer service, including Food and Beverage, Lodging and Accommodation, Travel, Tourism and Transportation, Leisure, and Recreation.

Finding Internships

The fashion and retail industries value candidates who are willing to “put themselves out there” and demonstrate a genuine interest in the field. An excellent resource is the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund, which offers an annual case study competition. Winners of the competition receive financial awards, mentorship, and connections to internships in the industry. In hospitality, major hotel groups offer management training programs. These programs typically rotate candidates through several of their core business areas – food services, event management, front-desk operations, and housekeeping – with the intention of finding the right fit based on both the candidate’s and hotel’s needs.

Finding Jobs

Student groups and career clubs can help enhance key job skills and develop industry contacts. Consider taking a leadership role or taking a course that involves some form of quantitative activity, especially if you’re interested in fashion and retail merchandising. It is important to target your search so you can learn what qualifications are needed. Sometimes something as straight forward as previous experience will qualify you for full-time consideration, while in other cases, technical training may be necessary. Hotels may also offer entry level opportunities in specific support functions such as marketing and finance/accounting.

Graduate and Professional Programs

While specialized undergraduate programs prepare candidates for this industry, there is plenty of room for liberal arts students, especially in the business operations area. Before entering a graduate program, take some time to work in the industry to road-test your interest and gain the amount of experience that may be required. Smaller hotels and resorts may allow you to try your hand at various tasks, while larger establishments will have more defined roles.

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