Looking at Emily Gampel’s family history, it almost seems like destiny that she would choose Retail Management at the Ted Rogers School of Management. “It’s kind of in my blood,” she says. “My grandfather owned the only big women’s dress shop in Niagara Falls, so I’ve always heard stories about it. It always made me want to own my own business. Being in a store makes me happy. And there’s nothing else I could see myself doing.”
Emily is in her first year of Retail Management, with the goal of building a career on the business side of fashion. She grew up in Toronto and chose to remain here to attend TRSM while many of her friends and peers were moving away for university. “Being downtown, you’re in a whole other world than you would be at a university in a smaller town. I just feel like there are so many opportunities. Every day when I come downtown, there’s something new.”
Here, in her own words, Emily describes why she chose Retail Management, the advantages of TRSM’s urban location, and how her assignments have had immediate real-world application.
The Business Side of Fashion
“When I first started looking up schools, I came across Ryerson and knew it was the only school I wanted to go to. I applied to other places and I got in, but I didn’t care. At first, I was set on the Creative Industries program, since it would allow me to minor in Fashion and still take practical courses. Then I saw Retail Management and thought, This will be really cool. I’m going to get a Commerce degree rather than an Arts degree, which is a whole different level. There are so many possibilities and I could change whatever I want to do, whether it’s become a buyer, open up my own store, or anything else. But I’ll always have the Commerce degree, so I can go into another part of retail. It allowed me to broaden my horizons.”
“I knew the program was going to be amazing because I had done so much research. It’s such a great place to be and the stuff we’re learning is very relatable – not theoretical. What sets it apart from other Commerce programs is that what you’re learning relates to everyday life. You know, I can go out to a store and I look at things differently now. On the very first day of orientation, before we even had any classes, they took us to Canadian Tire’s Retail City and I learned so much. Now I go into a store and I’m like, Wow, this makes sense. All these cool things are true.”
“Going to school right next to the Eaton Centre is fantastic – maybe not for my wallet, but for any business student to be so close to the mall, to the financial district, it’s amazing. Every day I walk through the mall on my way to school and notice things: This store changed its window display, or they’re having a sale, or new merchandise is coming in – I get to see all that every single day. The more you surround yourself with that, the more you’ll succeed in whatever you’re doing.”
“We had to write a cover letter in two hours and that was fun. It was a great template. Our professor actually got an email from a former student saying she used that cover letter when applying for a job and the person doing the interview said it was amazing and that’s what got her the job. So clearly it works! I like that you can take these things you’re learning in class and apply them, whether it be now or in the future.”
Talking to Professors
“I always stay after class to talk to my profs. They’re very open, back and forth with emails, and that’s great. Coming from a private school environment with small classes, I was worried there would be a million kids in the class and I’d never get to know professors, but it’s not true. On the first day, I stayed after class and I introduced myself. Ever since, I feel like I can talk to my professors and they know what’s going on and they’re accommodating. You can ask someone questions, bounce ideas off someone and that helps. There is a ton of support.”
“Toronto is great – we have it all here. I don’t need to venture too far to get a taste of everything. I never knew that at Ryerson there was a quad and a quiet space in the middle of the city. You go there and you don’t feel like you’re downtown. Every day I walk downtown and I see something new and it’s great. I’ve visited other universities and there’s something missing there that Ryerson has.”
“I’m at the SLC (Student Learning Centre) every day. It’s the greatest place. I feel like I can’t even do work at home anymore because I’m hooked on being there. Some friends and I will all meet at the study rooms – we’re in different programs but we’ll meet and do our work there.”
“I want to go check out the Fashion Zone. Debbie de Lange (Assistant Professor at TRSM) told me to check it out. All these kinds of things are what attracted me. I feel like when you come down, you’re in a whole different world – even someone like me who lives in the city. How can you not want to be here? Come downtown, come down to the campus for a day and tell me it doesn’t feel different.”
Why choose TRSM?
“I believe TRSM is the leading edge of innovative thinking. Everything you do relates to the world around you and it’s very hands-on. The more you’re happy spending your day at school, the better you’ll do. And being downtown gives you the chance to make connections and meet people and that’s the number one thing you learn in business school: networking. That’s all here. If you’re not sure, come down for the day and check it out and just pretend you’re a student and check out the campus and the buildings. I have no doubt that you’ll like it, and you’ll want to come. I knew just from reading that it was where I wanted to be.”
“Keep an open mind – it’s different. It’s really cool – I’m so happy.”
Does Retail Management at TRSM sound like the program for you? Check out our website to learn more about the program.
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