Hunter Davidson graduated in 2016 with a degree in Apparel Merchandising. She currently works as a Product Development Coordinator for Kohl’s and is based in Milwaukee.
Describe how your time at IU impacted your career goals:
I started out as a Direct admit to Kelley, I even lived in the Kelley LLC! Being surrounded by people who were so passionate about business and numbers made me realize that it wasn’t exactly for me. I thought the Apparel Merchandising major was great because it still incorporated my number skills, but also included my passion, clothing! The Apparel Merchandising program at IU is fabulous. I knew nothing about the apparel industry and what jobs were offered, but our classes covered a lot of jobs opportunities. I went into it thinking that Buying/Planning were the only two options, but my summer internship taught me that Planning wasn’t for me. I found that Product Development was the perfect mix of creativity and number crunching for me.
Describe your career path:
I would like to preface this by saying I have never actually worked in a retail store. Throughout my college career I worked two part time jobs; working as a waitress and being a TA/eventually an Undergraduate Instructor for BUS-K201 (a business computer class teaching Microsoft Access and Excel). The summer after my sophomore year I worked as a camp counselor, which I would highly recommend as my people skills increased 10 fold (plus it was just really really fun). After my junior year I accepted an internship in New York working as a Planner. I loved getting to spend time in the city, but I don’t regret my decision to move to Milwaukee as I love my current job working in Product Development.
Describe your daily tasks and how they support your organization:
I partner with multiple cross functional teams and overseas vendors to ensure production of garments is going smoothly and on time. This entails meeting with Design to discuss fabric quality of samples, meeting with my Merchant team to discuss our current and future assortments, meeting with Tech Design to discuss garment fit details, and meeting with my Product Development team to discuss brand direction, vendor issues, and sales. My favorite part of my job is answering emails from my vendors. Every day there seems to be a new problem to solve, it keeps things exciting.
What advice do you have for students exploring different career paths and landing their first job?
- Take advantage of the IU alumni base. If there’s a career your interested in, 9 times out of 10 there’s an IU alum working in that position right now. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your professor to connect you with someone. Phone interviews are very insightful, and are a great way to make connections.
- Be more proactive about making connections at any new job. I wish I had done this when I first started.
- When looking for jobs or internships, never give up. Apply to as many places as possible, it’s always better to have options.
What surprised you most about the transition from college to full-time work?
Waking up early was hard, but I was surprised by how much easier my life seems now. Not having to do homework anymore has really given me a lot more free time to pursue hobbies and spend time with my friends.
If you would like to reach out to Hunter to learn more about her experience as a recent IU grad, you can connect with her on LinkedIn.