I applied for the BA Fashion Management & Marketing at UCA because I wanted to go into retail buying and this was one of the very few management courses that had modules for buying embedded in its syllabus. The lecturers, tutors and visiting staff all came from the fashion industry so they knew what they were talking about.
When I look back, I have great memories of the course – especially the relationships that I had with the tutors. Gaining advice directly in one-to-ones helped me to better understand the material and sometimes gave me another point of view that I wouldn’t otherwise have seen.
The spectrum of projects that we worked on as part of the course has proven to be the most useful aspect for my career. As a buyer, you wear a number of different hats within the business. You need a knowledge of marketing, experience of merchandising and you have to know how to manage a project – especially needing to know how to present your ideas and findings to different groups of stakeholders. These skills were all part of the course and it definitely prepared me for this in the business environment.
I think that the insights that we gained from visiting lectures were invaluable. Some of the best tips for presentations that I still use today came from a couple of visiting lecturers whose advice I regularly find myself following when presenting to senior leadership in my current role.
The course also gave me the opportunity to do two internships, one in wholesale and one in buying. I would highly recommend students try a few different companies and roles to get a taste of what the real world feels like whist studying. The internships not only helped me to definitely decide on the career path I wanted to take but also gave me great insights for my final major project.
When it came to the final project itself, I was able to piece together project planning, costing, knowledge of business technologies and CX [customer experience] and use the project to network with in Marks & Spencer which gave me insight into a number of exciting developments within M&S that are not in the public domain.
My advice to anyone considering a career in a business subject within the creative industries is to do your research both on and offline and speak with plenty of people. It’s amazing how many people will meet you for coffee if you’re genuinely interested in what they do. The landscape of the consumer goods industry is changing due to advances in technology, new start-ups and giants like Amazon. There are new roles popping up all the time so doing your research and knowing what is happening will help with the coursework and with the choices that you have to make once the course is finished.