Kiana Jamal – Fashionista and Retail Enthusiast
I’m Kiana Jamal and I just completed my final year of the Retail Management Program. I chose to pursue this program because every facet of the retail industry fascinates me, and I feel privileged to immerse myself in an industry that is undergoing such rapid and dynamic changes. From channel shifts to evolving consumer tastes, the retail industry has and will continue to inspire, excite and challenge me. I have had a blast these past few years; doing a minor in Fashion Studies, going abroad to study for a semester in London, UK and making memories with some of my closest friends in my program.
How would you describe your program to someone who knows nothing about it?
Retail Management is part of the Ted Rogers School of Management, therefore, it is a Bachelor of Commerce in everything retail. I took all the required business courses in my first year, such as marketing, economics and accounting, and then was able to specialize in retail related courses from year two onward. From courses on supply chain management to buying and planning and visual merchandising, the retail management program truly prepares you for countless paths upon graduation.
What is your favourite thing about your program?
What I loved about my program is that I got the opportunity to apply everything I learned in the classroom. Ryerson promotes collaboration and has many hands-on opportunities, therefore you are not just learning theories from a textbook. For example, many of my classes were held in the TRS building, which happens to be on Bay Street – Toronto’s major Financial Hub. How cool is that? It is also located at the top of Toronto’s largest and most visited shopping centres, the Toronto Eaton Center. During class time, we were often required to go downstairs to the mall and do primary research, giving us a chance to apply all of the concepts that we had just learned in class in a real-world retail setting.
What is your favourite thing about Ryerson?
My favourite thing about Ryerson is the location. Being born and raised in Toronto, I am a city gal and I love studying at the heart of downtown Toronto. The school is walking distance from Dundas subway station, and there are countless options for places to eat and things to do. There truly is never a dull moment! In addition to this, I have a slight shopping addiction, and being able to shop at the Eaton Center in between classes definitely has its perks.
What has been your greatest accomplishment so far in your program?
My greatest accomplishment in my program was winning awards at the Retail Management Award Ceremony every year. Each year, the Ted Rogers School of Management presents awards and scholarships to students who excel in academics, leadership, volunteer and community engagement, and they have helped me professionally and financially through my degree.
What has been your favourite class that you’ve taken?
This is a very difficult question because I believe the classes that I took in my program were all puzzle pieces that formed who I am today. One course that I believe was the most impactful was RMG 799 Internship Placement, all retail students must complete a 400-hour internship placement during summer between their third and fourth year. Before that summer, all students must take this course to better prepare themselves for the working world. Students partake in Excel classes, networking events and one-on-one interview and resumé preparation sessions. I found this class to be extremely helpful as it taught me skills that will help me for the rest of my life. Additionally, thanks to the networking events put together by the School of Retail Management, I got the internship of my dreams – a buying intern at the Hudson’s Bay Company.
Has your perception of your program changed from the beginning of first year to now?
Yes, my perception of my program has changed completely since my first year, and I had no idea how much I would learn about my field and myself. When I started in my first year, I had no idea how invested the professors would be in helping you succeed. Every November, the program puts together something called Retail Week, which is a week-long event that connects students with members of the industry through networking events, competitions, workshops and panel discussions on trends in the world of retail. Through this event I have participated in several case competitions, and had several networking opportunities with industry professionals that have made me realize what I’d like to do in the future. When I first started my degree I thought I wanted to be a buyer, but through all of my courses and retail week I have realized I would like to change my career path and go into retail luxury consulting instead.
What is your advice for future students in your program?
My advice to future students is to get involved! You can do this through clubs, sports or even an on-campus job. Throughout my years at Ryerson, I worked as a student ambassador with the Ryerson Recruitment team, and I absolutely loved connecting with students from all over the world. Furthermore, I highly recommend taking advantage of the free resources offered through your program and across campus such as the Business Career Hub, the Tri-Mentoring program and Peer-tutoring.