The Spider Way: In Print highlights the career path of UR alumni. For additional career advice and tips, visit spiderway.wordpress.com or call Career Services at (804) 289-8547 to make an appointment.
The following is an interview with Rebecca Goldberg, an ‘05 Richmond grad who now works as the Global Corporate Merchandising Manager for Coach, Inc.
What did you study at University of Richmond, and what were your post-graduation plans?
I majored in political science and Spanish because the professors in those departments were stimulating and engaging. My grandmother was a professor of political science, which also had an influence. My interest in Spanish evolved from studying abroad and recognizing the importance of the language in communicating with a large segment of our population.
During college I had various internships, from advertising at The Martin Agency in Richmond to human resources at Goldman Sachs in New York, but at graduation I did not have a definitive plan.
What did you actually do post graduation, and what is your current position?
The summer after college I interviewed for a variety of positions, but was not excited by the environments or the responsibilities. I started working as the assistant manager of a clothing store to take a break from my job search.
Working in a mall was humbling; however, it opened my eyes to an industry I had not considered. I gained knowledge and skills in managing a team, visually merchandising products, understanding the consumer and selling. One of my loyal customers worked at Coach, and soon I found my way to an exciting, challenging and rewarding career in merchandising at Coach.
What is a typical workday in the life of Rebecca Goldberg?
I do everything from working with leather, fabric and design teams to pick the best and most cost-effective material for a bag, to analyzing weekly sales. My team and I are responsible for writing strategy, understanding market trends and building meaningful relationships with our cross-functional partners to ensure financial and strategic goals are met.
Merchandising is the center of a wheel that drives the product development process, from writing a line plan to seeing the product into our stores.
What do you know now (about careers) that you wish you knew as an undergraduate student?
Success does not always follow a straight line, and success is not always measured in promotions and paychecks. Open the door to different experiences, even those that might take you in an unusual direction; take advantage of internships, job-shadowing opportunities and meeting people whose careers are new to you.
What is your most valuable networking technique?
Talk to everyone and anyone who will listen, and write (and spell check) thank you notes!
What is the most played song on your iPod?
“Rocky Ground” by Bruce Springsteen.