Poole Class of 2021 Spotlight: Kristen Ash

A Wilmington, N.C. native and graduate of High Point University (HPU), Kristen Ash’s love of travel and all things luxury drew her to Poole College of Management’s Global Luxury and Management (GLAM) graduate program. After receiving her undergraduate degree in marketing, she immediately decided to apply in hopes of boosting her chances of making it in an incredibly competitive industry.

“My supply chain professor from HPU initially told me about the GLAM program. I looked into it the same day and immediately decided to apply,” Ash remembers. “I already planned on traveling abroad to France after graduating, so the program matched my future goals. I pursued this degree because I knew it would help me gain valuable experience before entering my career.”

GLAM program graduates receive two master’s degrees upon graduation – a Masters in Management with a concentration in Global Luxury from NC State, and a Master of Science in Global Luxury Management from SKEMA Business School in France. As part of the program, students like Ash spend the fall semester in Raleigh and the spring semester in Paris, followed by four months of combined thesis and professional work, such as internships or full-time positions.

To Ash, the unique combination of travel and real-world applications of classroom material made the program extremely valuable.

“I gained so much confidence in my ability to succeed in the luxury world, as well as my ability to work with people from all over the globe,” she says. “I feel the GLAM program has prepared me well for a career in a variety of categories in the luxury industry.”

As part of the GLAM program, students have the opportunity to network with luxury industry executives to not only learn more about various opportunities within the luxury space but also potentially cement future internship or job opportunities.

“I was first introduced to ‘The Boss’ – Sheila Ruffin – in October. Her story was interesting to me, but I still wasn’t sure what industry I wanted to work in,” Ash remembers. “In February, an internship position opened up for Soca Caribbean Yachts, and I knew it was a position I wanted to apply for. I decided to fill out my application once Ms. Ruffin sent the job description details to me on LinkedIn. The experience has been wonderful.”

After graduating from the GLAM Program, Ash plans to relocate to either Charlotte, N.C., Seattle, Wash. or the Washington, D.C. area.

“Besides teaching me the ins-and-outs of the luxury travel industry, the GLAM program has given me so much confidence in my ability to exceed in the workplace – regardless of what industry I work in,” she says. “I’m excited to put the information I have learned into practical use.”