Dec 10

Building Skills Through Student Projects

It’s easy for students to overlook the professional value of completing class group projects. However, these opportunities can provide the building blocks for both career-specific and “soft” skills (such as communication and leadership) that will be necessary in the workplace.  

Bryan School alumnus Wayne “Tony” Marsh (MS ’16) has first-hand experience with this. While earning his degree in consumer, apparel, and retail studies, he had to complete a brand proposal project that required students to work together as a team to develop a new product and establish a marketing strategy, price point, and targeted consumer base. That experience taught him skills he uses in his role as senior allocator at Global Brands Group.

“I’m responsible for allocating multiple product categories to retail stores, while working with the planning/sales team to ensure that each location has the right product at the right time,” said Wayne. “I am also responsible for providing administrative support and customer service to external clients, as well as assisting team members with daily tasks.”

Wayne was initially drawn to the Bryan School’s Consumer, Apparel, and Retail Studies (CARS) program based on their positive reputation and post-graduate career possibilities. He took advantage of the opportunities the school provided and was able to land a job with Global Brands Group after graduation.

“The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the products that I am responsible for on the shelves of different retailers, and knowing I played an integral part in getting it there.” On the other hand, Wayne noted, “The most challenging part of my job is managing multiple projects within tight deadlines.” Through the CARS graduate program, he gained valuable skills that helped him resiliently work through the job’s challenges.

Tony encourages students to start career planning early and develop professional experience through class projects. “The research assignments in my CARS courses, as well as multiple projects in my MBA courses, were directly related to some of the assignments I am tasked with now.”

Going into an internship or your first job with experience is crucial, but Wayne knows the added importance of flexibility and an open mind. “Never get complacent, and always be ready and willing to adapt to an ever-changing industry.” Do not step foot in the door with an entitled personality. Be open-minded and willing to work hard. This determined mindset led to Wayne being promoted sooner than he anticipated. “Sometimes you may have to go beyond the call of duty to get things done; however, hard work does not go unnoticed.”