What do a business degree, a part time job and Nordstrom have in common? Everything, for 2008 alumni Rachel Refo. During sophomore year while she was babysitter, Refo decided to try to find another source of income. While job hunting, Refo stumbled upon a sales department opening at the local Nordstrom department store. Refo didn’t have any prior retail experience, but decided that it couldn’t hurt to apply.
“I didn’t really shop there,” said Refo. “I thought it was a really expensive store.”
Within two years this decision lead to Refo’s current position as regional manager. Refo explained that what she thought was a temporary position ended up being one of the best decisions she ever made.
“Nordstrom is a really great company,” said Refo. “You can get to leadership positions pretty quickly.”
Refo’s colleague Danielle Staley explained that though the road to her career as regional manager differed from Refo’s, she too has come to really enjoy being a part of the Nordstrom franchise.
“You have the ability to meet so many great people who can get you access to some great opportunities,” said Staley.
Both women agreed that though their areas of study didn’t involve fashion merchandising, what they learned in college ended up helping them in the long run. They encourage any potential Nordstrom employees to apply, regardless of their major.
“I wanted to be an accountant,” explained Refo. “I gave Nordstrom the summer and ended up packing up my stuff and moving to the Washington, DC area to work at the Tyson’s Corner location.”
Refo explained that many of the classes she took as a business major, especially the math and managerial classes, have helped her in her daily operations as a regional manager.
Staley added that her major in psychology also helped her to work with the different women who come to her lingerie department looking for more than just the average purchase.
“We also fit women who’ve had breast cancer with prosthesis and we need to know how to interact with different women and
situations,” Staley said. “My degree in psychology almost perfectly married my career.”
Both women agree that any student who is looking for something new, exciting and rewarding should apply for the student internship with the company.
In case students are still skeptical about a career in the fashion retail industry, Refo mentioned one of the best job perks, “We have fun every day,” said Refo.
For more information on the Nordstrom summer internship, visit the Career Service Office located in the Batten Student Center in room 220.