Seneca Program: Fashion Business Management
Degree Program and Institution: Honours Bachelor of Arts, Fashion Marketing and Retail Design – University of South Wales
Why did you choose to study at Seneca?
I decided to study at Seneca because I was impressed by the depth of my program. Particularly, the breadth of courses that I thought would challenge both my creative and analytical thinking skills and the range of hands-on experiences offered to students. For example, the retail working experience at The Boutique* gave me practical experience but also helped me to discover what career path I wanted to pursue.
Another element that prompted me to choose Seneca was the atmosphere of the Newnham Campus, where my program was based. It is dynamic, full of energy and has many student work spaces that encourage collaboration. This really made a difference when it came to completing group projects. These facilities and campus resources were really important to me.
How would you describe your experience at Seneca?
I would describe my experience at Seneca as: fulfilling, enlightening and encouraging.
Fulfilling because during my time at Seneca, I was able to achieve a number of my academic goals. I am especially pleased that I had plenty of opportunity to expand my industry knowledge and fully develop my abilities before moving onto the next chapter of my life and pursuing further education.
Enlightening in that Seneca challenged me to step outside of my comfort zone so that I could be more open-minded in approaching situations and making decisions.
Lastly, my experience was encouraging. Faculty urged us to be actively engaged through our educational journey. From participating in class to getting involved with extra-curricular activities, I felt like these experiences made me a better-rounded learner and helped me to grow my professional network. My professors shared opportunities with us and were really supportive every step of the way.
What influenced your decision to continue your education after completing your diploma?
After completing my second year of the Fashion Business Management program, I realized that I wanted to become a fashion buyer. I started researching the job requirements for that career path. I soon discovered that many companies required candidates to have obtained at least a Bachelor of Arts related to fashion studies.
Soon after, I started researching academic programs that might recognize my education from Seneca for transfer credit. At that time, one of my peers was researching the University of South Wales (USW). After discussing the outcomes of the program with her and my Program Co-ordinator, I decided their Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Marketing and Retail Design was a suitable program for me. Moving abroad, to the United Kingdom, would also allow me the chance to gain greater independence and international experience.
How did your Seneca program prepare you for your degree program?
Seneca prepared me for my degree program in a number of ways. For starters, my diploma program helped me to hone in on really important skills – from academic writing to time management to presentation skills.
As a degree student, many of my assignments are written. I am expected to review credible academic sources, organize my points and articulate them clearly. I credit Seneca’s business classes with teaching me how to properly format a formal paper. As such, I was fully prepared to begin my Critical Research module at USW this year. Additionally, my current program demands me to be self-directed and independent. I need to be able to balance deadlines and I feel that Seneca taught me great time-management skills because faculty had coached students to start tackling deadlines right away in order to create our best work. Also, having delivered presentations many times throughout my three years at Seneca, I learned how to be a confident speaker, which has proven to be helpful in my current program. Specifically when I had to deliver a presentation to Topshop executives recently.
What are you up to now?
I am currently in my final year of studying at the University of South Wales in Cardiff. I have been living in Cardiff for two and a half months. It is a small city, which has helped to make the transition to a new country easier. While small, it is also vibrant and there is plenty to do and see!
I have enjoyed the program so far. I recently completed my brief for my final major project - creating a body positive fashion brand. I’ve completed my dissertation in which I will focus on examining the sustainable fashion market. Lastly, I presented an innovative way for Topshop to attract more in-store traffic to a couple of their executives – I am waiting on their feedback.
I have also been trying to travel in between deadlines. So far, I have visited Paris, France and York, England. I just booked a trip to Malaga, Spain. I never would have imagined being able to travel to such amazing places in Europe while also studying. It has been life changing to say the least!
How are you enjoying your experience at our partner institution?
I am enjoying my experience at USW immensely! The professors here are extremely supportive and always available to help whenever needed. I am fortunate that I studied at Seneca before coming to this university because they have high expectations. Students are expected to come with some business acumen, knowledge of marketing jargon and an intermediate level of experience with InDesign. The experience so far has been nothing short of amazing, even though there is still schoolwork! The school and the city as a whole is very accommodating to international students.
Any words of advice to students who are currently in the program you graduated out of at Seneca? And considering transferring to a degree program?
I would advise students who are currently in the Fashion Business Management program to maintain a positive attitude while working on assignments and when receiving feedback. The program will help you grow in many ways so keep an open mind and remain flexible.
Also, you will be given the freedom to choose a focus point for many of your assignments. Pick something that you feel passionate about. It will not only make the experience more meaningful but it may also lead you towards discovering your career path.
For students who are considering transferring to a degree program, my advice is: Do it! Transferring to a degree program has helped me gain confidence in my abilities. If you’re already considering pursuing a degree pathway, begin the research process early! Look into the school, campus life, and broader community. It will help you to feel more prepared when you arrive.
What are your plans for the future – short-term and long-term?
My short-term plan is to secure a job with a sustainable brand as an allocator or an assistant buyer. Long-term, I plan to pursue a master’s program. Also, I have high hopes for the future of sustainable fashion. So in the future, as a buyer, I hope that I will be able to make a difference in mitigating the fashion industry’s impact on climate change by influencing output and waste reduction.
* The Boutique is an on-campus training lab for students in Seneca’s two-year Fashion Business and three-year Fashion Business Management programs. The Boutique allows students to practice skills for roles in fashion buying, marketing, information and financial management, analytics and customer service.