Graduation can be a frantic time for some, as the approach of the “real world” leads to uncertainty and a panicked flurry of activity. Not so for December 2016 University of South Carolina College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management graduate Kristy Martin, however. She spent her last weeks as a college student relaxing in Italy as her study abroad trip drew to a close, knowing her hard work had already landed her a dream job.
“I feel very fortunate,” Martin said in November. “It is very surreal and such a relief. Now I get to enjoy my last month abroad, before I graduate in December, without being stressed about the job searching process.”
Martin will move to Dallas after graduation with a B.S. in Retailing to begin her career with the Neiman Marcus Group in their Executive Development Program, a 10-week training course which ends with a job as an assistant buyer. The job offer came after her success last summer in the company’s corporate internship program, in which she worked at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City.
“I worked closely with her as she prepared for her interviews, and she did a fantastic job in a very competitive field to land the internship in New York,” said USC HRSM Senior Instructor Sallie Boggs. “Also, to get hired at Neiman’s is extremely difficult, as it is so competitive.”
Martin made an effort to gain as much experience in as many different areas as possible while in school, and said that made all the difference as she competed against other candidates.
My professors at USC have been extremely influential and have impacted my life in more ways than one.
—Kristy Martin, Retailing graduate
“When I was interviewing for the position, I remember talking to Neiman Marcus/Bergdorf Goodman all about the different areas I have worked in: personal styling, selling, marketing, etc.,” she said. “Being involved on campus in different organizations helped me as well, as it shows potential employers what you are passionate about.”
Martin was a leader of Fashion Board, a USC student organization where she impressed her peers with her attitude as well as her work ethic.
“Kristy is an exemplary role model for other students in this department because of her commitment and drive to everything that she does,” said Katie Landmesser, a retailing major and 2016-17 director of programming for Fashion Board. “She is kind to everyone that she interacts with and excels as a leader in everything that she participates in.”
Martin called joining Fashion Board as a freshman the best decision she made. “I remember looking up to the older girls on the board when I first joined which pushed me to work towards my biggest dreams,” she said. “Fashion Board allows USC students to become involved with their college and also the community.”
Martin’s passion for retailing stood out to her teachers as well as her peers. “She is one of the best students I have ever had,” said Boggs, who has been teaching for more than 35 years. “What I noticed the most was her motivation and determination to learn all that she could and gain the most from her experiences at USC – thus her study abroad in Milan and her internship with Bergdorf’s as well as her leadership roles in Fashion Board.”
The respect faculty members hold for Martin is returned. “My professors at USC have been extremely influential and have impacted my life in more ways than one,” she said. She went on to advise other students to get to know their professors. “They want to get to know you and they want to help you!”
Martin said two HRSM faculty members were particularly helpful to her. “In the retail school, I owe it all to Dr. Boggs and Mrs. Elbery,” she said. Retailing Internship Director Erica Elbery also serves as faculty advisor for Fashion Board. “Both of these professors always acted as cheerleaders for me and it is great knowing you have people supporting you and your dreams.”