When it comes to having the right degree to get into retail, you can almost take your pick: fashion, law, international management, accountancy, retail management, you name it.
Like it or not, you can't always just walk out with a degree into a management job, though. Top employers tend to want management calibre candidates with some retail experience who are prepared to work their way up.
In some roles, you can learn on the job. For instance, you could take an allocator role, which is the first step to embarking on a career in merchandising. Here, whatever your degree is, analytical skills and mathematical acumen are essential.
The surest way, however, is to look at all the major companies to find out which ones have the best fast track graduate or management training programmes and a policy of promoting from within. For instance, some offer a 12 month graduate course with a nationally accredited qualification from the Institute of Leadership and Management.
Some also offer summer placements, so if you are an undergraduate, it's worth checking that out. At least then you are well placed to get onto the company's graduate training scheme.
What you need to show employers in this fast paced industry is that you are quick to learn, have a good grasp of commercial issues, well-honed analytical skills and, of course, leadership qualities.
One last tip. When planning your career, it is worthwhile looking at sectors that are short of talent. Specialist fields, such as in lingerie, toys or wine often find it difficult to attract good staff and assistant buyers are also in short supply. Having said that, industry observers reckon there is a shortage of talent across the board so the truly talented can't fail.
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