In July, Emily Berlin ‘16 combined her love of fashion and shopping with her desire to employ strategic thinking and started work as an allocation analyst for TJX’s Merchant Development program. Her responsibilities include analyzing sales reports and trends and, depending on the dynamics of supply and demand, deciding on the distribution of product for TJMaxx, one of the largest off-price retailers in the U.S.
“In my position, I am given a lot of data and constantly have to ask questions in order to paint a better picture of what the average store is carrying,” Berlin says. “And by asking those questions, I have to quickly identify which answers will prove to be fruitful in order to keep up with the pace of our stores. If I get stuck on a short sleeve knit for a whole week, I could miss out on opportunities with a woven top.”
The philosophy major has found many applications for her Haverford education in this new position. The small size of her philosophy classes, Berlin says, allowed students to actively practice their critical thinking skills and engage in an open dialogue with the professor—an encouraged practice in liberal arts education. This ability to craft and defend an argument gave Berlin the confidence to present her work and ideas to upper-level management within her department at TJX. She is also comfortable working in a team where each person contributes with their strengths and receives support for their own weaknesses.
“The best part of majoring in philosophy and working in retail is that I approach problems with a completely different mindset than the other people in my program, making me a huge asset,” Berlin says.
The summer after her junior year, the Center for Career and Professional Advising helped her land an internship at a women’s shoe company, where she gained valuable experience in retail and made professional connections. After some time spent working with TJX’s Merchant Development program, Berlin hopes to continue her career as a buyer for the company, which involves a lot of negotiating and traveling to meet with designers and manufacturers. Regardless of which part of the retail business she settles in eventually, she looks forward to continuing to indulge in the pleasure of seeing her vision come to fruition when shopping in TJMaxx’s stores.
“Finding trends and inspirations involves a lot of exploring and shopping at competition,” Berlin says. “Getting to be productive while being outside of an office is a pretty great way to spend time.”
“Where They’re Headed” is a blog series reporting on the post-collegiate plans of recent Haverford graduates.