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Robin Sackin, Fashion Merchandising Management Faculty

To be successful in the fashion business, you have to be analytical, know what the customer wants, read financial reports, be a critical thinker and a team player. The Team Development Workshop is one of the last requirements for the associate’s degree, and it’s one of those courses where students start out saying, ‘Ugh, why do I have to take this?’

At first, everyone thinks they’re a leader. But in this class some of them discover they’re not—they’re creative, they’re moderators, they’re finishers, and you need all those roles to get the project done. Everyone is held accountable to make sure the tasks are completed, and everyone suffers if a team member doesn’t come to class or do the work. The team can “fire” that member. It happens rarely, but for those who have been fired, it’s a real life lesson.

By the time students get to the Merchandising Strategies course—the bachelor’s program capstone project—they’re doing case studies on actual companies, and making presentations at firms like Abercrombie, Bergdorf Goodman, Liz Claiborne. Suddenly it dawns on them that executives are taking their ideas and suggestions seriously. That’s when students understand something important about themselves—they know what they’re talking about.

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