How has being a P&N graduate helped shape your professional success?
In my role as a Merchant at Abercrombie & Fitch, I work with a wide array of cross-functional partners every day. When interacting with different people, it is important to understand group dynamics and individual motivation; it is important to be able to read a room and discern individuals' strengths and opportunities. I feel that studying Psychology (and getting the MMS Certificate), set me up for success in this aspect of my job. In business, it is imperative to understand that each of your teammates and cross-functional partners will have different perspectives, and that this is what will ultimately lead to success. Through my major at Duke, I learned a lot about how different team dynamics can play out in business - how some companies are able to maximize the differences on a team, while others allow this to become a hurdle.
In addition to my day-to-day interactions at the Home Office, a big part of my job is understanding our customer. I took several classes at Duke about Consumer and Business Psychology, both topics that I think about on a daily basis. In order to drive the business and ensure we are giving our customer the product she is looking for, we need to understand who we are targeting and why she buys. On a weekly basis, I take time to get closer to our customer; whether it be through focus groups, store visits or just observing shoppers at the mall, I am constantly tapping into what I learned as a Psychology major at Duke to better understand and grow my business.
What advice would you give students in Psychology?
My advice would be to take an array of classes within the Psychology major - some classes lean more towards the scientific aspect of the discipline, while others are more focused on the social and business implications. Regardless of which end of the spectrum you feel you lean towards most, I think that the variety of classes you can find within this major allows for a well-rounded and applicable education.