GLAM Graduate Lives His Dream
Andre Snowden can honestly say he’s living his career dreams, but on a path he never saw himself taking.
Recruited by luxury brand Tiffany to take part in its Tiffany Academy for Excellence and Diversity in Retail Leadership, an 18-month rotational program that usually leads to a full-time job, Snowden recently received a promotion while only on his second rotation within the program.
It’s not the norm to be promoted before finishing the Tiffany Academy rotations, and Snowden said he can trace it all back to advice he received while enrolled in Poole College of Management’s Global Luxury and Management (GLAM) Program at North Carolina State University. Snowden had always seen himself with a career in luxury fashion, but had never considered jewelry.
“We had a guest speaker who said, the best advice is to be focused on the end goal but flexible with the path,” Snowden said. “I challenged myself from that moment to say, if this is something I really want to do, I’m really going to take that advice.”
GLAM provides the bridge to the luxury industry
Snowden received his undergraduate degree in 2016 from the State University of New York College at Buffalo, and emerged thinking about what he wanted to do over the long-term. At the top of his list was a career in luxury marketing, and in doing his research, he discovered the GLAM program.
The GLAM program awards two master’s degrees – 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. Students spend the fall semester in Raleigh and the spring semester in Paris, followed by four months of combined thesis and professional work that can include internships or full time positions.
“Once I read about the type of experience I would have, it almost was too good to be true,” Snowden said. “I felt that, of course, I had to apply for this program – what they were offering aligned with my career goals.”
The most attractive component to Snowden was the opportunity to study abroad, something he had always wanted to do. At the same time, studying luxury in Paris seemed ideal, he said.
“I also loved that the program was so impactful, that it showcased that impact through experiential learning,” he said. “There were so many opportunities to deep dive as well with professionals throughout the industry.”
His experience in the program did not disappoint.
“It taught me so much about myself, and allowed me to exercise skills that I already had but also to learn new ones,” Snowden said. “It taught me quickly how to be agile, and how to be comfortable being uncomfortable.”
He returned from the Spring semester in Paris to an internship in Seattle with Nordstrom’s Buying and Planning Division and later received a full time job offer there that he decided to turn down. Snowden knew he ultimately wanted to end up living in New York City – a dream he’d had even prior to starting the GLAM program.
Realizing his dream: A luxury career in New York City
He moved to New York still figuring out his next step, and secured a role as a client advisor with Louis Vuitton, where he remained for close to a year until the Tiffany Academy opportunity presented itself. More than 1,000 people applied and just five were selected, he said.
On its website, Tiffany describes the Tiffany Academy for Excellence and Diversity in Retail Leadership as “an exciting program for early to mid-career high-potential professionals who want to join the next generation of retail leaders at Tiffany & Co. The 18-month rotational program provides an immersive development experience to help you learn the intricacies of the business, build a network of advocates, and grow a successful career with Tiffany.”
Already he’s worked with the retail management team on Tiffany Wall Street and is now working with the Merchandising Process Improvement team. He credits his GLAM experience with giving him the confidence to jump feet first into these new experiences.
“I don’t come from a technical background, nor do I have a project management background,” Snowden said. “It was about leveraging that skill of ‘being comfortable being uncomfortable’ that came from GLAM.”
Snowden said he’s most enjoying being a part of the conversations about moving the company forward.
“It’s an interesting time right now, really thinking about how we can become the next generation’s luxury jeweler,” he said.
He brings the perspective of a young millennial consumer himself and a representative of the company, he said, which he tries to leverage as he understands Tiffany’s best practices and helps to create new strategies.
“It’s been a phenomenal journey so far,” Snowden said.
To those considering a similar path, he suggests exploring all of the avenues of luxury and learning as much as possible.
“You want to, of course, stay focused on your end goal but allow yourself to take that advice to be flexible and to learn different things,” he said. “As you allow yourself to become more flexible, it really just adds more value on top of the expertise that you already have.”
And, have fun with it, Snowden said.
“I think sometimes we get caught up in the business side of things, and deadlines and expectations, that sometimes we kind of lose focus – when you’re at work, or in school, have fun and enjoy it,” he said.