The NY Study Tour Experience
The New York study tour is one of the most popular trips. Four girls, Marissa Williams (Junior Merchandising and Digital Retail Major), Mindy Le (Hospitality, Merchandising, & Digital Retailing), Sarah Muller (Junior Merchandising and Digital Retail), and Taelor Burke (Senior DIgital Retailing Major), give us an inside look on what it’s like to experience the tour. As I walked in to meet them for the group interview, I could immediately tell that they were all super excited to see each other once again. Their experiences are all unique and the tour definitely impacted their college experience.
Why did you choose New York for your study abroad experience?
Sarah: I am actually from New Jersey, so when I graduate I would really like to go back home and live in New Jersey and work in Manhattan, so I thought that going to New York would be the best experience for me to see what kind of jobs are available close to home.
Marissa: I thought it was a stepping stone. You go on the NY study tour and that leads to other tours you could also do. Also, at the same time you get to make contacts with people and network with them on LinkedIn. That brings out more job opportunities and internships later on.
Taelor: I for one, just love New York and I really wanted to get out of Texas. I wanted to see what was outside of Texas. With New York being one of the top fashion places, there is a lot of merchandising there, but digital retail too. I just thought it would be a great opportunity to network and see how they work everyday instead of just reading online. It’s different being there and seeing everything.
Mindy: I think it was just a great opportunity to see what the companies were like and be able to visit their offices. I wanted to see their working environments and listen to them talk about the environments. It’s a really unique opportunity to experience. Visiting the fashion companies is just something you don’t get to do everyday. Since I am also a hospitality major I just love travel.
What companies did you guys get to visit?
The group visited so many companies: Kohl’s, Ross, Tory Burch, Macy’s, Saks, Tri-Coastal Designs, Global Brands, Parsons, Bonobos, and Arvato.
Sarah: I really remember Bonobos and Macy’s because they were the best.
Marissa: And Kohl’s!
All: Kohl’s was so amazing!
Marissa: You don’t realize how big these companies are until you actually go there. You don’t know some of these companies, but then you go in and realize who they manufacture to. You find out what products they produce for other people. I saw some of the gifts that they gave us in the store.
What was your typical day like in the city?
Sarah: What you do is you go to these companies and you start off at 9 a.m. and by like 3 p.m. you are finished. After that it’s just up to you to explore and find what you want to do.
Prior to the trip, what were you most excited about?
Taelor: Tory Burch! I was really excited about actually going to New York and staying there. I’ve only been a couple times, but they have both been one or two days. It was nice to actually stay there. It felt like an actual teaser of what it would be like if I did live there.
Marissa: We got to do so much there. You could literally walk out and say what doI want to do today? We had so many options which was the best part.
Sarah: I was just really excited to see NYC from a retail perspective. I’ve been to NY many times, but I see the same things over and over again. I was just excited to see it from a perspective that I was interested in.
How did you prepare for your trip to the Big Apple?
Taelor: I made sure that my LinkedIn account looked great. I would get the professionals’ emails and reach out to them that way. I just really wanted to be prepared before going.
Marissa: I didn’t and I really wish I did.
Taelor: Making sure that you prepare your outfits is important because you not only had to pack business attire, but you had to pack enough clothing for all the different activities and the environment.
Sarah: Pack Comfortable shoes!
Mindy Le: I had the smallest suitcase, but I was the most comfortable.
What was your goal for the trip?
Taelor: Learn lots! Play lots!
Sarah: I kind of just wanted to see what was out there professional wise because there so much in New York. You could be a buyer or a planner, but then there is a billion and one other jobs that you didn’t know existed until you got there.
Taelor: My goal was just to network and see what the companies do on a daily basis. It’s totally different from reading a job description, it seems boring. When you’re there and they talk about it you realize that it actually seems fun.
Marissa: I’d say the same thing about Networking but also seeing what they do and not just hearing about it in our classes. We hear about the different job opportunities in class, but then when we are there watching them, seeing their offices, seeing where they work— it’s different.
Mindy: I was looking forward to understanding the different companies cultures and their procedures they go through to do whatever job they are doing. Like at Tory Burch they gave us a whole packet of their entire product development process. That was really cool to look at.
Sarah: We got to play with their beautiful product that hasn’t even come out yet.
Any advice for people going on upcoming New York trip?
Sarah: Join Merchandising Inc and participate in the activities such as TMS, so that you can apply for study tour awards
Taelor: Be open to making new friends and be open minded about things. Especially food!
Mindy: Bring an umbrella.
Marissa: Don’t take it too seriously. You take it serious to a point, but if you’re all work work work you’re not going to go out and see things. You’re not gonna go and have fun and it’s a part of the trip.
Sarah: That’s equally as important as your business trips, getting to experience the culture.
Marissa: For me even the business appointments were fun. They were awesome!
The group really appreciated the chance to visit NYC and are looking forward to potentially living there one day, or even just going back to visit. They learned a lot about the different possibilities for careers in fashion and how to network with different professionals and companies. Plus, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity they don’t and will not regret!
To see their past NY adventures, follow Marissa Williams (marissa_williams25 ), Sarah Muller(sarahmullerxo), Mindy Le (@themindyle), and Taelar Burke(@taelorburke) on Instagram and see photos below.
Words by Rikki Willingham
Edits by Taylar Gomez, Carolina Gonzalez, and Maia Wilson