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TRSM Retail students travel to NYC and Italy

April 08, 2019
Retail students in Italy
Retail students in front of the Altare della Patria in Rome, Italy

Ted Rogers Retail Management students have discovered that one of their key learning tools is a passport, after learning first hand about high fashion and merchandising with top brands in Italy and New York. 

For eight days, a group of 15 students had the chance to experience the retail world in Rome, Florence and Milan and another group of 18 students spent time learning and exploring luxury retail in New York City.  

“Experiential learning trips like these are important because students get to apply the retail concepts they have learned in the program in the context of another country,” said Mark Lee, interim director of the Retail Management program and a faculty representative on the Italy trip.

The trip to Italy was jointly organized by the Retail Student Association and the Retail School, while the trip to New York City was part of the luxury sector studies course taught by Professor Donna Smith.

The trips weren’t just an opportunity for the students to absorb exposure to careers in fashion and luxury, it also gave employers an opportunity to learn about the quality of TRSM students.

The students impressed executives from leading luxury accessories and ready-to-wear brand Michael Kors, lifestyle brand collective Centric Brands Group and women’s fashion brand Aritzia that they extended invitations to the students to apply for internships and full-time positions at their organizations.   

For Kate Byca, a third year retail management student, her trip to New York directly impacted her vision of her future.

“I have a strong interest in becoming a buyer in the future, so the Centric Brands Group presentation and tour was my greatest takeaway,” said Byca. “I didn’t even realize companies like Centric Brands Group even existed! It really opened up new career ideas in my mind.”   

Students also visited two TRSM alum in New York who now have successful careers in retail. Angela Macri (Marketing, 2002) and Janet Chau (Human Resources, 2012), joined the group and discussed their careers and different aspects of sales, retail and human resources.

One person giving a tour to four people

Tour of Hudson Yards in New York City

“These trips help us market the retail program to executives in industry, laying the foundation for internships, co-ops and donations for our students,” said Retail Management Professor Donna Smith.

For the group of students who travelled to Italy, they enjoyed a guided tour of the Gucci Gardens in Florence, a tour of Via Montenapoleone (Europe’s most expensive street) in Milan, and did a nine stop food tour in Rome.

Students met local retailers, entrepreneurs and artisans who make and sell a number of different clothing items.

“It really opened my eyes to how different retailing is in a different country,” said Hassan Patel, a fourth year retail management student. “It allowed me to think about the retail related possibilities that are available in other countries that aren’t available in Toronto.”

Sean Sedlezky, manager of Program Design in Retail Management, says trips like these provide an experiential opportunity for students and builds on the reputation of the school.

“These trips allow the school and students to build new connections abroad that may lead to future internships, career opportunities or graduate studies,” said Sedlezky.

Students also visited Polimoda University, a private fashion school in Florence and learned about their Master’s program.

“There are many opportunities out there and I can take the skills I learned from this program here in Toronto and relate it to other places in the world,” said Patel. “I may consider relocating to a more fashion focused city in order to be inspired and thrive in my retail management career.”