Interviewing your Interviewer

Hi everyone,

I’ve written a lot about internships here, and I thought today I would talk about something I think is really important. When applying for jobs and internships, it can feel like you have to take whatever is offered to you. Reality is, whenever you are being interviewed for a position, you are also in essence interviewing them as well. If you are hired, you will be spending a significant amount of time working for and in the offices of the company and people who interview you. It’s important to ensure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision on whether or not to take a position.

Just because you interview for a job does not mean you have to take it. I would not recommend taking an interview for a position you have no intention of accepting, but sometimes the only way to know if you would not want to work for a company is going through the entire process. Do not feel like you are “wasting their time” if you decline an offer after reviewing everything. Truthfully, taking something you are not actually interested in is a disservice not only to you, but to the company as the likelihood you leave or dislike the work is very high. If you do take a position that is less than desirable to you, at least you will go in knowing the choice you have made and make the best of it.

So what does it mean to interview the company too? I would take into consideration the things that matter most to you. Do you want room to grow? Ask what opportunities might be available to you after 6 months or a year. Do you want to be out of work in time for class? Ask when people typically pack up for the day. I always ask “why do you like working for xyz company?” and “how long have you worked here?” It shows the company culture – and it can show a lot about what people think of it! I also ask what a typical day looks like – is it email heavy? Full of meetings? Depends on the season? It helps get a gauge on what to expect. Depending on the job function it can be good to also ask what you might be responsible for.

Additionally, it can help to gather information online too. Google the company, look at Glassdoor reviews, see what they post on LinkedIn. Something I personally find really important is liking the products I work on for the company. Especially in Product Development, what you work on can greatly impact what you do. Also, I enjoy working on things I’d want to wear. More fun that way!

Asking lots of questions along all steps of the process can help you best decide whether a position is a match for you or not. Go in with an open mind, but know your deal breakers and ideals!

What do you ask during job interviews?

Sam

What to Major in for Product Development

Hi everyone!

Recently I was asked what the difference between majoring in Production Management at FIT versus majoring in Fashion Business Management with a concentration in Product Development is, and I thought I would share my view on the pros and cons to both!

When I was in high school, I thought I would attend FIT for Fashion Business Management, one of our biggest majors. I intended on being a buyer, and selecting the assortment for stores. However, what I couldn’t have foreseen at the time was my enjoyment in the process of making those products to be sold. I ended up in Production Management by truthfully falling into it, but I love it! It has provided me so many interesting experiences and insights. If you are deciding between the two majors, here are some key differences to help you select what will be best for you.

Production Management is much smaller than Fashion Business Management (FBM), so we all get to know each other and the professors pretty well. I have enjoyed networking with fellow students, and having professors that know my name and face. However, since we are smaller, sometimes the class offerings can be more limited than FBM, which runs many more sections of a class than the 2 options Production has. Additionally FBM has more major-wide contests and specific opportunities, as well as more study abroad options. Also, you can’t hide in a small major – we all know each other and know who is skipping class!

I think the main content difference between FBM and Production Management is that FBM covers a much wider variety of jobs in the apparel industry, where as PM trains you to be the best product developer or production manager. Graduates of both programs can (and do) hold jobs in both the front end (sales, buying) and back end (development and manufacturing), but the methods of study are pretty different. At the end of the day, I think it comes down to if you like the nitty-gritty, hands on, too much information on a single topic (PM), or a broader, more balanced view of multiple aspects in a more conceptual way (FBM).

As a kid, I was always sewing and crafting and plotting and planning. I liked reading craft books to learn how to loop rugs, bake clay figures, or sew a hammock. Even if I had no intention of crocheting a teddy bear, I still wanted to know how they did it. I think this is why I like Production Management so much. We get to examine the entire process of making something so we can optimize it. We take pattern making classes, sewing classes, textile and testing classes to see how things are done. However, you can be an amazing product developer or production manager, and never have sewn a stitch in your life! Many FBM students prefer how the program is much more broad, doesn’t require staying in the sewing labs late, and has more information on the sales side of the industry. The Product Development specialization from FBM gives you the necessary knowledge to start a career in that area.

At the end of the day, if you are attending FIT with the ultimate goal of being a Product Developer, both FBM and Production Management are great choices. I think the main differences are size and range of topics. If you want a broader understanding, more flexible class schedule, additional programs and study abroad choices, and to be more conceptual/less down and dirty, FBM’s Product Development specialization might be a better choice. If you want a more tailored, close knit, deep dive into the entire process instead of just an overview, with hands on work and experience in a multitude of facets in garment creation, Production Management might be more fun for you.

No path in fashion is a straight one, and you never know where you might end up!

Sam

Last Semester Goals

Hi everyone!

This week was the first week of my last semester at FIT.  It has both flown by and taken forever to get here!  I’m sad and excited at the same time.  I have been a student for the past 15 or so years of my life – and while I hope to never stop learning, it will be different no longer being enrolled in classes or working towards graduation.  So, I would like to make the most of this semester!  Below are some goals:

  1. Use my student resources more

FIT has amazing labs, computer programs and resources for students, and I regret not using them more!  I’d like to spend some time in the sewing lab, making something!  Additionally, FIT provides the Adobe creative suite free to students, which is super expensive otherwise.  Before I lose access to it I would like to refine my skills more by creating more personal projects in Adobe Illustrator, and finally learning how to effectively use Photoshop.

2. Keep my GPA up

I will admit, since I already have my post-grad job lined up the motivation to have a good GPA has dropped.  However, I would like to still do my best!  Even though GPA is truly just a number, there is satisfaction in trying for the highest number.  I’m going to work away at my studies and homework for my own personal GPA goal.

3. Balance

Since I am working full time this semester, as well as finishing my FIT degree I would like to try to be balanced in my life.  In past semesters I have let my social life slide in order to accommodate work and school, but I’d like to leave a weekend day for fun every week.  Wether it’s going out for dinner or a movie night with friends, just forcing time to be not working and not studying.

What are your goals for this semester?  Let me know!

Sam

“Fashion” School

Hi everyone!

Whenever I tell people I go to the Fashion Institute of Technology, they usually jokingly ask “how’s my outfit?”. A lot of people assume that everyone that goes to a fashion school is a fashionista, but that couldn’t be further from the truth at FIT! This school has so many types of people pursuing many different goals, and not always in fashion. We have majors like Toy Design, Advertising and Marketing, Interior Design, and other programs that do not center around apparel. We have students who routinely dress to the nines, and others who wear whatever they found in their closet first (me most days). One thing I love about FIT is that everyone is focused on their own outfit. I have worn pajamas to school and no one has batted an eye. You don’t need to have a massive closet, shop every weekend, or wear designer to fit in. People all have their own personal styles.

When I first got to FIT it was strange going from being known for liking fashion to being way out-dressed, even at 8am. I at first felt the pressure to adapt and be more on trend, but over time I realized that literally no one cares what I wear. I now enjoy curating things I like to wear. Comfort is more important to me than anything else, and I enjoy having unique jeans.

Another assumption is that fashion is frivolous. I would strongly disagree with this! Everyone needs to wear clothing. Why not make it fun? And if not fun, why not make it perform better, last longer, be better for the environment? FIT has “technology” in the name for a reason. During my time here I have taken 3d Modeling (which some day might replace the extra and wasteful samples required), Quality Management (making sure your clothes do what you want them to), and spent time in the sewing and testing labs learning what it takes to turn fibers like cotton and nylon into tee shirts and windbreakers.

FIT is more than just fashion. Between the 3 schools that make up FIT, we have 29 programs, 18 of which are not related to apparel. There are so many ways to express creativity and innovation at our school. And clothes are just the beginning!

Sam

Minoring Strategically

Hi everyone!

FIT has so many great minors available for students to work towards during their time at school here. From Ethics and Sustainability, to Dance, and foreign languages, you can dive into topics of interest to you outside your major’s course requirements.

There are two main ways to work on a minor – one is choosing one that compliments the classes required for your major, and the second is picking something you are interested in and feel will better round out your education.

The first approach requires looking at the required classes for your major – for example, my program (Production Management) entails taking Macro and Micro economics. This is essentially 40% of a minor in Economics, built into the classes you already have to take anyways. Additionally, most degrees require two foreign language classes. This means by taking three more you can obtain the minor in the language of your choice.

The second approach might take more planning. I would recommend looking over the classes for your degree and the classes for the minor with your academic advisor. There may be some classes that fulfill the same SUNY requirement – for example, instead of taking Quantitative Mathematics I took Math Modeling. Both met the SUNY standards, which meant that I no longer needed to take Quantitative Mathematics. There may be some classes for a minor that you can swap in instead of the suggested class for your major. Again, working with your academic advisor and reviewing your DARs degree audit report can help you find these areas of overlap!

More than anything, I would suggest starting your minor early. I had started a minor in Japanese my Sophomore year but ended up running out of time in my schedule. With language classes they usually build upon each other, so sequencing and timing is very important!

What do you want to minor in?

Sam