I found my internship with Kate Spade through Career & Professional Development’s collaboration with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). Coming from management consulting where the recruitment process was very structured, this was a totally different experience. February through April was filled with introductory calls and various trips to New York City and San Francisco. In the end, my interview with the Senior Director of Product Strategy here at the Kate Spade company went extremely well, and I was very excited to start the job after receiving the offer the very same day. With this internship, I hope to immerse myself with the fashion-retail industry in New York City and find out whether this is a career I want to pursue in the longer term.

This new division, Product Strategy, was launched just this year in January. The division is tasked with accelerating the growth of three categories of product: tech accessories, watches, and beauty across all three brands, Kate Spade New York, Kate Spade Saturday, and Jack Spade, and across all channels of distributions globally. I’m specifically in charge of the tech category this summer. Our goal is to optimize how we work on these specialized categories and to increase our sales and profitability while leading the day to day operations. Currently we are evaluating existing business, researching new and relevant product categories, distribution, and partners, and identifying the appropriate modeling for the business. My work has involved some overlapping with friends from HBS who are interning for tech companies in San Francisco, and it has been great to be able to reach out to them.

The interplay between fashion and technology is still a new aspect of the industry, but it is a very exciting one with a lot of opportunities that are occurring at a fast pace. It is the perfect combination for me to work on this summer since I was focused on telecommunications, media and technology (TMT) clients prior to HBS, and I have always had an innate interest in fashion retail.

It is currently my third week and I am really enjoying myself. The company has a bright ‘sunshine-feel’ to it, with neon installations on all floors. It has been interesting to discover the different personalities of the three brands. I love working with the Senior Director who had previously interviewed me, along with the product development, design and marketing teams. I also participated in consumer electronic trade shows for the first time to discover new products on the markets and look out for potential licensing partners for the company. The Fashion Tech Forum was also very useful in connecting with different people who were in the tech and fashion space and getting to know the industry on a deeper level.

So far, this has been the perfect experience to work on some of the day-to-day decisions needed within the Product Strategy division and on my tech growth strategy project alongside as well.

- Proud Limpongpan, MBA 2015