With college applications due right around the corner, this past Sunday found many class discussions centered around the future. Even more so than the immediate future, many of my classmates were concerned about the longterm future, particularly that which would ensue following their potential acceptance into FIT for college.
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: the average FIT student is ambitious. They respect and value their creativity, but understand the need to have a solid career grounded in reality. Thus, my classmates had some insightful questions for our professor. Such intelligent questions included “How do I become a buyer?”, “Does FIT have good connections for internships?”, and “What’s the best major to enter if I wanted to start my own business?”
Luckily for me, I have an aunt who graduated from FIT to ask these kinds of questions to, and to rely on for advice on entering these related industries.
This week I decided to interview my aunt, Antonette Bivona. She graduated from FIT in 1991 with BS in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing, after first getting her Associate’s Degree in Fashion Buying and Merchandising, also at FIT. Today, she holds the prestigious title of Director of Global Marketing for Revlon Cosmetics Products Corporation.
I wanted to ask her a few questions to find out more about her FIT experience for both my knowledge, and the knowledge of my readers, fellow Precollege students, and FIT hopefuls.
Me: What originally made you interested in FIT?
A: I’ve always been interested in fashion and beauty, and FIT is the premier school for the industry. In fact, the [Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing] program I was in was really unique because it was the first one of its kind. When I graduated, it had only been around for two years.
Me: How did FIT help you get to where you are today in your career?
A: FIT helped me get an internship at Revlon, and I was lucky enough to be offered a position there once I graduated. I’m still here today, after 25 years, largely thanks to FIT’s well-rounded education of the industry.
Me: What skills did you learn at FIT that have contributed to your success in the workplace?
A: Hard work, diligence, creativity, professionalism. FIT was excellent with giving us real world experience, bringing us straight into the industry. For example, they would take us to spend the day at different cosmetics companies’ headquarters. They’re great with nurturing their students to seamlessly make their way into the industry straight out of college. They ensure we build lasting connections through different internships.
Me: What were some of the challenges you faced along the way?
A: Due to the economic recession of the times, the fear of not getting a job was very real. The workload was intense, and the expectations were high. In my last year specifically, I had an internship, school, and a job. Nonetheless, it was a great experience.
There you have it, FIT friends! Next time you draw some designs for your Precollege portfolio, draw inspiration from happily successful FIT alumni like my aunt, and even more well-known fashion figures like Calvin Klein and Michael Kors! Hard work and dedication, along with the tools and skills learned from such a great school as FIT, always make the experience well worth it!