Anita Umarji MBA ‘13
Co-President of the Retail and Luxury Goods Club, Marketing Club, Women's Student Association
Marketing at L'Oreal and Retail Strategy at Christian Dior Couture
Senior Merchandise Planner & Strategy at Shopbop
Why was earning your MBA at HBS important to you?
After four years of working on a trading floor, I realized that finance just wasn't my passion. I have always been really interested in retail, specifically fashion and beauty, and I wanted to be able to participate in the business side of the industry. Given that working in Sales & Trading is such a niche role, I really wanted to gain a strong foundation in business, meet incredible people from a variety of backgrounds and spend two years figuring out what excited me. HBS was the perfect way to accomplish all those goals, and I don't think it would have been possible to make such a career switch without my MBA.
How has your overall HBS experience shaped your goals and career path?
When I started at HBS I had a very set idea of what kind of career I wanted to have. Over the course of these last two years, my experiences in-class, with my professors, during my internships and through student club leadership have helped me arrive at a different vision of what excited and intrigued me. Specifically, serving as Co-President of the Retail & Luxury Goods Club gave me the incredible opportunity to meet with amazing leaders in retail, and their advice was always invaluable. I think the pre-professional clubs at HBS are one of its greatest assets.
How has HBS prepared you for your summer internship and long term career?
It would seem that working in the fast-paced world of Sales & Trading would have prepared me to think quickly and strategically on my feet, but in all honesty, nothing is quite like the HBS case method. While nerve-wracking at first, the fact that I am now comfortable quickly forming a substantiated opinion and then presenting my point of view to ninety other students and an esteemed professor is truly one of my greatest accomplishments. Most leaders in business will tell you that life is not like studying for finals or writing papers; monumental and great business decisions often have to be made in a quickly changing landscape with limited information. In addition to the case method, the network you gain from being part of HBS is truly invaluable.
What are you most looking forward to in your career?
I am looking forward to finally pursuing my passion armed with a toolkit of skills honed over the last two years. It is truly inspiring that I will be able to affect business decisions at a company that I have loved as a consumer for years. Additionally, as Shopbop is a subsidiary of Amazon, I am extremely excited to experience the cross-pollination of skills and backgrounds. Eventually, I would love to excite customers in the fashion space via a business of my own, and I hope that any success I am fortunate to have can be leveraged to support and be involved in causes that are important to me. Furthermore, I eagerly await the day when I can be in a position to help and mentor a young, ambitious person who wants to pursue a career in retail.