The Retail NaviGator - our communication to you about our research on retailing issues and the activities of the David F. Miller Center. This ongoing media change creates a direct connection to the retailing community in a way that keeps information current, direct and GREEN!
In this issue:
Retailing Gators in China
Glenn Wu (BSBA '09), spoke with Cecilia Schulz, Director of Student Programs of the Miller Center for Retailing Education and Research, via Skype discussing his career and how his life is different now that he lives and works in China. Glenn is in Dongguan, China with the Brown Shoe Company working on the sourcing side of retailing.
YMA Fashion Scholarship Dinner
It was a night of glamour, fun and fashion as five scholarship winners from the University of Florida attended the 75th annual YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund Awards ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City on January 10, 2012.
The YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund is a national nonprofit association consisting of influential members of the fashion community. The organization is dedicated to promoting education of the fashion, arts and business by granting scholarships to talented students and facilitating internships, mentorships and career programs. The YMA partners with 35 schools across the country and awarded 125 scholarships ($5,000 apiece) Five of the recipients were UF students. YMA posed a fictional problem in the fashion industry and students were tasked with solving it. Students that advanced to the competition's second round were interviewed by YMA representatives in November and were notified of their scholarships in December. This year marked the most winners UF has ever had in school history. The night was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the UF students as they mingled with fashion leaders and executives.
In addition, The Home Depot focuses on innovation by demanding new and fresh ideas for products that fit their customer's needs. Furthermore, The Home Depot makes sure all of its resources are aligned to engage customers through its store experience and online media. The Home Depot merges technology to remain relevant and cater to its customers in efficient ways. One of the challenges The Home Depot faces is creating a seamless multi-channel experience across all touch points as customers want instantaneous satisfaction and the ability to buy items they cannot buy anywhere else. The Home Depot is very careful about taking good care of customers whether it is through the in-store experience or through e-commerce. Part of the company's strategy is to resolve problems with social media, and to understand what is important to customers. Negative comments by customers in social media can really hurt a business and ultimately profit margins. Therefore, The Home Depot is investing in social media to decrease customer dissatisfaction and give customers the ability to connect and engage on all levels of the value chain.
Retail Society Welcomes Toys "R" Us
By Lindsey Sanders
The Sears Holdings Retail Management Seminar is designed to inform students about the retail industry and to dispel myths about retailing careers through weekly presentations by executives in the industry.
After giving a brief introduction on the success their company has enjoyed after facing serious obstacles in 2005, they began speaking about the intangible factors of a job such as the people you will be working with (as well as the people you will be working for) and the office environment. Smith compared hating your boss to having a class you were extremely excited about and then discovering you can't stand your professor; in both situations, you are sure to be miserable. Remember, "People don't work for companies; they work for people." Smith and Baczynski suggested going to as many events as you can on campus to try to evaluate what the people and culture of the company are like and if they align with what you are looking for.
Next, they delved into some specifics such as compensation, benefits, and work/life balance. The job might seem perfect, but will you be able to pay your bills? Also, will you be paid overtime or do you have a set salary? When you will be eligible for a raise in your salary is also something to consider. You might want to ask people who are in the job you want what their typical week looks like so you know what to expect. The speakers reminded us to think of long-term things too such as 401(k), medical/dental benefits, and flexibility for appointments or personal commitments. Currently, many jobs have "portability" meaning that you go in to work in the office a few days a week then the rest you work from home. Do you work better alone or with the camaraderie of working amongst your colleagues in an office atmosphere?
One must also consider the future of the company they are thinking of joining. What challenges will the company be facing in the years to come, and is the company prepared to meet them? Do you personally prefer working for local companies, regional companies, national companies, or global companies? Each comes with its own advantages and disadvantages; it is up to you to determine which best fits your needs. Among other key things to contemplate, think about if you will have the chance to interact with senior leaders and if you will have many duties or just a few specialized tasks? One must evaluate the opportunities there are to advance in the company and achieve one's career goals.
Matt Smith and Jane Baczynski presented us with frank insight into what really matters when you are offered a job. The UF Retail Society was fortunate to have their expertise on what steps to take when you are contemplating accepting job offers. Toys "R" Us is a phenomenal company that shared their insight with us!
This electronic newsletter from The David F. Miller Center for Retailing Education and Research is issued throughout the year to provide updates on what is happening in retailing at the University of Florida. Information regarding student outreach, jobs, internships, research and retailing connections throughout the country will be included. We hope you enjoy seeing what Gators are doing in the retail industry!