University of South Carolina

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Retailing: What to Expect

Retailing majors at the University of South Carolina work with distinguished faculty, develop key skills, and are exposed to industry leaders. The Department of Retailing is ranked second in North America based on the research productivity of faculty. As a Retailing major, you will develop skills including leadership skills, organizational skills, the ability to adapt to the changing macro and micro economic retail environment, and retail financial savvy skills. During your coursework, you will learn theory, principles, and practice of retailing. You will also develop a practical application of theory using retailers’ stores throughout the community as inspiration and as a working laboratory. You will also have the chance to explore countless internship opportunities. The department boasts a 100 percent internship placement rate for Retailing majors.  You can specialize in Retail Management or Fashion Merchandising.

The following courses fulfill some of the course requirements for a Bachelor of Science with a major in Retailing:

  • Functional Accounting I and II
  • Principles of Retailing
  • Personnel Organization and Supervision
  • Retail Buying
  • Retail Promotion
  • Multi-National Retailing
  • Business Law
  • Computer Applications in Business
  • Business Communications
  • Principles of Marketing

A detailed list of degree requirements can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

Enhancing your Experience

Study Abroad allows you to earn academic credits toward your USC degree while seeing the world! Overseas study can complement any academic program or major. Retailing majors have traveled to Paris, Venice, Rome, Florence, and London. During your study abroad experience, you will learn about fashion and retailing techniques used throughout the country; meet with designers, manufacturers, and retailers; attend cultural events; and participate in tours throughout famous museums. You are encouraged to visit the Study Abroad Web site for more information on opportunities to broaden and extend your knowledge and perspectives.
Student Organizations can be instrumental in helping you adjust to life on campus and network within your field. The University of South Carolina has a family of nearly 300 student organizations. As a Retailing major, you can get involved in Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) and the Fashion Board. These organizations will allow you to compete for scholarships and attend annual events, activities, and competitions. Getting involved in an organization that interests you can help you network, meet new friends, and develop leadership skills. You can also seek out volunteer opportunities that relate to your major. Find a student organization on campus that interests you!
Graduate School is one of many possibilities following graduation. Many graduates go on to pursue a Master of Science in Retailing.
Departmental Scholarships may be awarded to outstanding entering freshmen or current students. Each year the College of Hospitality, Retail, and Sport Management awards a variety of scholarships for Retailing majors. These include Department of Retailing Scholarship Fund, Piggly Wiggly Scholarship for Retailing Students in HRSM, and the Retail Scholarship Fund. The College of Hospitality, Retail, and Sport Management offers additional scholarships each year.

Internship and Research Opportunities

Internships can be an important asset to your overall educational experience. Internship experiences often help you confirm your career interests, give you hands-on experience in a professional setting, help build your resume, reinforce what you’ve learned in class and can often lead to full-time employment. Likewise, pursuing professional research opportunities as an undergraduate student can also help enrich your academic experience while at the University. As an undergraduate student, you can work closely with faculty research mentors and explore a discipline that interests you. Both internship and research opportunities help you build a competitive edge in the job market.

As a USC student you will have numerous resources at your disposal to assist you with locating internship and research opportunities. The USC Career Center is the central location at USC for assisting students with internship preparation and finding an internship. In addition, be sure to visit your academic department as many programs offer supplemental internship guidance specific to your major. The Department of Retailing employs a Director of Internships to assist you with your search. The Office of Undergraduate Research assists all USC undergraduates by providing research and scholarly experiences in their chosen fields.

Retailing majors at the University of South Carolina have had a wide range of exciting and unique internship opportunities. Students have interned at Nordstrom, Vera Wang, Gallo Wines, W magazine, and Ferragamo.

Student Spotlight

Emily Petrocy, a Retailing major with a focus in Fashion Merchandising, didn’t have to travel far to land a great summer internship. Emily spent her summer interning in the kids department at Nordstrom in Charlotte, N.C. Her main responsibility was to sell and make sure she was meeting sales goals that had been set by her manager. When she wasn’t with a customer, Emily would help out by calling people, gift wrapping, and arranging merchandise on the floor. She also attended a manager’s meeting once a week in addition to an intern class that was held up to two times each week. “These classes were taught by all sorts of important people in the company, which helped me establish a lot of connections,” she said.  Emily’s internship was filled with exciting experiences and opportunities. She traveled to Atlanta to see the Nordstrom Rack and shop with the other interns, helped Kim Kardashian shop in the kid’s department, worked Nordstrom’s huge Anniversary Sale, and put on a fashion show displaying the fall trends with the other interns. The courses she took at USC helped prepare her for internship with Nordstom. “I didn’t understand how useful and practical my courses were until I needed the skills I learned from them,” she said. “Three courses that came to mind a lot while I was at Nordstrom were Sales Strategies, Visual Merchandising, and Contemporary Trends in Fashion.” USC even played an instrumental role in helping Emily find the internship with Nordstrom. “During the pre-internship class, my professor told me about the Nordstrom internship and they actually came right to USC to do the first round of interviews. It was really convenient!” Emily believes that it is important for all students to seek out an internship opportunity. “Do one even if your major does not require it,” she said. Internships are key in gaining professional experience and helping with future career decisions. “This experience helped me narrow down my career options,” she said. “Overall, I just feel a lot more prepared to face the real world after graduation since I have already seen a taste of it!”

Imagine spending an entire semester living, working, and networking in London. Erin Phillips, a Retailing major with an emphasis in Fashion Merchandising, landed an exceptional internship opportunity with Palladio Associations in London. Palladio Associates is one of the largest and most well known contemporary ladies wear fashion agencies in London that represents various high-end designers in their showroom from all over the world. While at Palladio Associates, Erin was able to get experience in a variety of areas to add to her skill set. “Whether I was assisting in the appointments for buyers, entering orders in to the various designer databases, working look book photo shoots, going to London Fashion Week, merchandising the showroom, or helping in the press department, I was always willing and ready to take on any opportunity or task I was given.” Working in London gave Erin an appreciation for the international fashion world. She also learned that hard work earns respect. “The staff at Palladio really appreciated my work ethic and gave me more responsibilities as time progressed.” Although studying abroad and participating in an internship experience was demanding, it was also rewarding for Erin. “The most exciting part of my internship was the real-world experience I was given,” she said. “Dressing and styling the model in a photo shoot for Fiona Paxton, a jewelry designer that Palladio represented, was very exciting.” According to Erin, the University of South Carolina was very helpful in preparing her for her internship experience. “The faculty in the Retailing Department are always very supportive of individuals and give great guidance,” she said. “Classes are also equipped me with problem solving skills and a knowledge of the retail chain.” The Retailing Department also helped Erin secure another internship with a national trades association for the sewn products industry. “This allowed me to see US manufacturers of sewn products and their facilities,” she said. “This has helped me gain a broader and more in depth understanding of the fashion world.” Through her internship, Erin learned more about what she wanted to do with her career. She would recommend that all current students pursue internship opportunities while at Carolina. “Some advice that I would give to current students that have not yet had an internship experience is to research companies, get help with their resume at the Career Center, apply for internships, and follow up with companies,” she said. “Internships are a great way to gain experience and learn more about what you want to do with your career!”

Career Opportunities

Retailing majors at the University of South Carolina have landed jobs with countless industry leaders. A handful of graduates also started their own businesses directly upon graduation. Retailing majors generally pursues careers in management, merchandising, visual, sales, and human resources for retailers, banks, real estate, manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors.

You can find more information about career options in the US Department of Laborís Occupational Outlook Handbook.

The USC Career Center offers numerous resources which provide more information about career opportunities for students in this major. Once admitted, a Career Development Coach is available to help you assess your interest areas, make decisions about your career path, and identify the experiences and skills that will help you accomplish your goals. Spur Connections will help you locate mentors from among USC alumni, employers and community members who can provide insights based on their careers and experiences. Early planning and preparation are keys to success.

Alumni Spotlight

After graduation, Retailing major Emma Mahon, headed to New York City with her childhood best friend to open Emma Graham Designs, a clothing line geared towards the fashion-savvy female, ages 18-30. Emma began sewing in middle school and knew during her freshman year at Carolina that she wanted to pursue a career in fashion. “Once I chose my major, Fashion Merchandising, I was able to learn in depth about the different career opportunities within the fashion industry,” she said. “Through my studies, time abroad, and internship, I gravitated towards the design and creative side, which is a huge part of what I do today.” Emma spends much of her day working on design. She sketches new styles, sourses fabric and notions, creates patterns, sews samples, and oversees production. She also spends a lot of time on the road hosting trunk shows and meeting with Campus Design Consultants. “As a new company, every day is different so the variety keeps things exciting.” she said. “I really love the fast pace of the industry. On a bigger scale, it is very exciting to see things that we work on for months come together as a polished, complete line.”

Emma’s coursework at the University of South Carolina was key in helping prepare her for her career in fashion. “I was taught in depth about the variety of career paths within the fashion industry,” she said. Her required internship also influenced her career path. “I began my internship with the idea that I wanted to be a buyer and at the end I emerged with a passion for design and a desire to have my own line,” she said. While at Carolina, Emma was quick to get involved and seek out opportunities related to her interests. She took advantage of the wide array of courses Carolina has to offer and sought out hands-on projects and opportunities. She was a member of Fashion Board and studied abroad in London where she was able to spend an entire semester taking design and sewing courses. Emma also made an effort to network with her professors. “When I first voiced my desire to be a designer and start a clothing company, Dr. Boggs took the time to help me outside of class by providing me with different sourcing websites and information,” she said. “She even allowed me to show some of my first garments in one of her course’s fashion shows. To this day, I am still in touch with Dr. Boggs, which shows the level of involvement and interest the professors have with their students.” Emma encourages current students to take advantage of all the resources the Retailing Department has to offer and to talk to their professors and get involved! “If there is something you’re passionate about, don’t be afraid to pursue it,” she said. “Get as much real world experience and exposure as possible while you are a student, it will help you figure out exactly what you want to do early on.” Although Emma has had many exciting moments in her role as co-founder of Emma Graham Designs, certain moments make her especially proud of how far she has come in her career. “Randomly seeing someone wearing Emma Graham is always so exciting and makes us very proud of how far we’ve come!” To see Emma’s work, visit www.emmagrahamdesigns.com.

About the Department of Retailing

The Department of Retailing at the University of South Carolina is ranked no. 2 in North America based on the research productivity of faculty. The department offers specializations in retail management and fashion merchandising. The program focuses on strong business and liberal arts core and emphasizes team building, communications, decision-making, and problem-solving skills. The Department of Retailing is in the College of Hospitality, Retail, and Sport Management.

Points of Pride

  • The Department of Retailing is ranked no. 2 in North America based on the research productivity of faculty.
  • We have a 100 percent internship placement rate.
  • industry leaders including Ferragamo, Nordstrom, Gucci, Northwestern Mutual, Home Depot, Target, and Walgreens have hired retailing majors from the University of South Carolina.

Additional Resources.
Department of Retailing Website
College of Hospitality, Retail, and Sport Management
University Career Center
Undergraduate Bulletin