Written by Becca Gibson
This past week, I was selected to be one of four students in the Eller College of Management to attend the National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show Conference. Prior to the Big Show, we visited a few locally based companies to learn more depth about the retail industry. These companies included Dolce & Gabbana, H&M, Winston Retail, and Macy’s.
Macy’s has a large presence on the University of Arizona campus due to our retail school being named after former CEO, Terry Lundgren. They are one of the largest fashion retailers in the country, focusing on customer satisfaction and in-store experience. While at Macy’s we were able to talk to employees in the HR, buying, financial planning and product development departments. This insight allowed me to realize that I have an interest in buying or product development.
As for the Big Show, we attended two days of the “Student Program” where we heard from professionals across all aspects of the retail industry. There were a wide variety of speakers including Chris Baldwin (CEO of BJ’s Wholesale) and Karen Katz (former CEO of luxury clothing supplier Neiman Marcus). In addition, there were numerous panelists talking about subjects ranging from supply chain management to technology in the retail industry.
On the second day of the conference, we had the opportunity to speak with five different successful retail employees who volunteered as mentors. This was a time to ask questions and get advice. It was such a unique experience and I am forever grateful for getting this opportunity.
This conference was truly an eye-opening experience into the retail industry and careers within multiple types of companies. I learned about many job functions and paths I can take in the future to pursue my goals and passions. I had an amazing time and want to thank The Eller College of Management for giving me this opportunity, as well as The University of Arizona Bookstores for funding the trip.