Lauren Ragsdale '11, November 1st, 2013
What began as a request from one student for clothes nice enough to wear to a job interview has snowballed into a new service benefiting all students at Mays Business School.
The project began as a simple gesture to help out someone in need. When a student told Mays Lecturer Henry Musoma he needed a suit, Musoma gladly helped by taking up a monetary collection to purchase a suit for the student.
Lisa Burton, a career coordinator for undergraduate students at Mays, heard this story from Musoma and was inspired to expand the service on a much larger scale and accommodate both men and women. The idea was soon proposed to the Business Student Council (BSC) to offer a type of “career closet” amenity to all students at Mays. Through the BSC, these student leaders would be able to coordinate and take ownership of a meaningful project that would help hundreds of students.
Further support was received from representatives at the University of Texas at San Antonio, who cooperated with Burton to share their own experiences in starting a career closet. Senior accounting major and VP of Project Mays Kylen Perry worked closely with Burton on behalf of the BSC. Planning continued over the next few months and, before too long, the Mays career closet was transformed from an idea into reality.
Preparation went into overdrive when the goal was set to open the career closet in time for the fall Business Career Fair. Burton credits a major part of the success of this project to Vicki Flenniken, manager of Macy’s at Post Oak Mall. “She was pivotal in helping secure the number of suits we needed at the best prices,” says Burton. “This was a huge effort considering that the suits had to be located from stores all across the country.”
Heather and Will Simmen, owners of Pride Cleaners, were also instrumental in executing the project. Not only did they donate all of the initial dry cleaning for the suits, but they also reduced dry cleaning costs to $5 per suit for students to have them cleaned after use. “Will Simmen believes in the Career Closet so much so that when he was in Harley’s shopping for himself, he asked to take the box of ties that was going to be thrown out so they could be used for the students,” Burton says. These ties, which Pride Cleaners pressed and cleaned at no charge, were added to the closet’s inventory.
The career closet now offers its business attire to all Mays students whenever they are needed. Apart from the small cleaning fee, students incur no rental expenses. Around career fairs and during interviewing seasons, the closet is available during designated hours. At other times, students have access upon request by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The closet currently holds 28 suits. During the first career fair after it was created, 16 were checked out.
“The best part of this whole project has been to see how the efforts of many different people have come together to create something that is of such value to our students,” says Burton.
About Mays Business School
Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,000 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.