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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

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Welcome to New York

By: Allen Wallace,
Posted on: December 12, 2018

Start spreading the news: Ellie Bonck is on her way to New York City as her childhood dreams begin to come true.

Bonck, a senior at the University of South Carolina, will graduate this month with a Bachelor of Science in Retailing. Months before completing her degree, she accepted a job with UNIQLO in the clothing chain’s fast track to management program, and will begin her career in the flagship store on New York’s 5th Avenue.

Bonck interned with UNIQLO in Florida this summer, and traveled to the New York headquarters to deliver her final internship presentation. To say she impressed the executives there is an understatement. She was asked immediately whether she wanted to continue working with the company and expressed interest. Then something very few job seekers experience happened.

“About 30 seconds after I left their office, they called me and said they were too excited to wait to tell me they wanted to make me an offer,” Bonck says. She accepted immediately.

Bonck, an Orlando native, visited New York City with her mother every summer while growing up, and says she has wanted to move there for as long as she can remember. She came to UofSC planning to major in business, but soon changed to retailing.

“I immediately knew this was where I belonged,” she says of the major. “All of my professors have taught me so much, especially Dr. [Annette] Burnsed, she’s wonderful.”

Bonck says her choice of university and major has paid off, offering her chances to study abroad and to learn both in and out of the classroom, as well as finding help whenever needed.

“I immediately knew this was where I belonged. All of my professors have taught me so much, especially Dr. [Annette] Burnsed, she’s wonderful.”

— Eliie Bonck, retailing

“I would have never imagined I’d have a support group this big, and then all the opportunities,” she says. “You initially think a required internship is going to be tough, but it’s such a valuable experience to have under your belt before you even graduate.”

The internship search was a challenge. Bonck applied to more than 100 companies before being chosen for the UNIQLO position which would lead to her job. She had moments of worry and frustration, but never stopped working, and offers that as advice to other students.

“Work as hard as you possibly can. In the end, when you have a job in place before you graduate, it will feel so good,” she says. “Make connections with your mentors, because that has done volumes for me, more than I ever expected.”

More information on the retailing program in UofSC’s College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management is available here.

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