Charlotte Gross recently received her master’s in consumer, apparel, and retail studies from the Bryan School while pursuing a 11-plus year career as a business consultant for Oracle Corporation’s retail clients.
She often works on long-term projects, training and consulting with the retailers who will be the end users for the merchandising, planning, and allocation software that a company’s executives have purchased. Traveling 80% of the time, she maps out the process and provides corporate training to get retail users fluent in new software. “I fly on Monday morning and return on Thursday night, and in between I build a life wherever I am. I have friends around the world. When it’s time, I have a hard cry, and then go to the next place and do it all over again.”
Having worked in retail since she a teenager, including managing a Bath and Body Works store and working in the corporate offices of Family Dollar, she knows the ins and outs of retail. While at Family Dollar she used the software she now installs for other retailers. She can say, “I’ve done your job, used this software, and this is the best way to use it.”
Charlotte received her BS in fashion merchandising from Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee, before online options existed. UNCG’s CARS program provided an excellent education and the flexibility she sought.
Living 85 miles from Greensboro and traveling for work, Charlotte started her graduate program by taking one class to establish success, and worked her way to multiple classes. Juggling full time work and school was challenging. “Once I decided to do this, I stayed organized, focused, and powered through.”
“The CARS program allowed me to work in a fulltime, and demanding career. The flexibility provided was the only way I could have accomplished my graduate degree while continuing my career,” she said. Her capstone was about technology in retail and the ‘Lifecycle of a Customer’ – how to get them into your store, make them happy, encourage buying, and succeed in drawing customers back to buy more. She worked strategically, with each of her papers building towards her capstone.
With the support of her parents, who brought her food and emotional cheerleading, and her employer, who gave her days off for exams – she finished her master’s with flying colors. She is now continuing to pursue her consulting career, and down the road has eyes on teaching at the college level.