Alex Simpson ’17: Following the Trends
In a $1.4 trillion global industry, getting a foot in the door is no small feat. But with the Global Luxury and Management (GLAM) program, a dual master’s degree program through the Poole College of Management and the Skema Business School, Alex Simpson received an education that set her up for success in the luxury industry – and set her apart, too.
“The beauty of the GLAM program is that you really become an expert on the luxury and premium consumer,” Simpson says. “When I was applying for jobs, I was so thankful for GLAM because I felt that I could really sell myself in a very competitive job market.”
Simpson, who also holds a bachelor’s degree in fashion and textile management from NC State’s Wilson College of Textiles, turned to the GLAM program before jumping into her career – and found that it was exactly what she needed.
“I started graduate school directly after I finished my undergrad degree. It was always my goal to further my education and the GLAM program was a great fit due to its concentration in the personal luxury and global experience,” Simpson says.
She explains that GLAM gave her unique experiences that played a pivotal role in furthering her career.
“I had the opportunity to collaborate with peers from all over the world, gain exposure to professionals in the luxury industry and study abroad in Paris – a fashion capital of the world. These were all invaluable experiences,” she says. “They allowed me to provide a skillset few have early on in their careers.”
Upon graduation, Simpson started her career with VF Corporation as a merchandising specialist for the Wrangler brand. Specifically, she worked on the modern lifestyle business unit, consisting of Wrangler’s premium and mid-tier products and special collaborations.
She found that GLAM’s diversity, international experience and industry immersion positioned her well for this global career opportunity.
“Not only was I able to form relationships with and work alongside classmates from various backgrounds, but I had the opportunity to network with professors and industry professionals and learn more about various cultures and businesses. This prepared me well for a career in which I collaborate with people in all different functions who have various views and insights,” Simpson says.
After VF Corporation split into Kontoor Brands, Inc., consisting of denim brands Wrangler, Lee and Rock & Republic, Simpson started in a new role with Kontoor Brands as a consumer insights analyst for Lee.
“I became interested in exploring a different side of the business and was excited when this opportunity in consumer insights came along,” she says. “In this position, I am responsible for making sure our various cross-functional teams understand our consumer and what they are looking for in our brands. My team conducts market and brand research to ensure we stay up-to-date on industry trends, as well.”
When applying for the promotion, Simpson found that GLAM prepared her to sell herself once again.
“It was extremely helpful to present some of the research projects I worked on – especially my thesis. I used my thesis as a huge talking point in my interviews,” she says.
Looking ahead, Simpson knows she will continue to draw from her experiences in GLAM – wherever she goes.
“The skills I learned in the GLAM program will be able to carry me long into my career. Although my passion is in apparel, I also know that these skills are transferable and will help me in various roles and industries.”