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Henry Yeh

President, Retail Students Association
EducationSenior Student - B.Comm in Retail Management

1) What was your favourite course and why?

There were many courses that I truly enjoyed so this is a very difficult question to answer. If I were to pick just one, it would have to be RMG909 - Advanced Buying Process II.

I took this course as a professional elective in my third year and enjoyed every aspect of it. The instructor, truly cared about every student’s success, in and out of class. I enjoyed the smaller class size, which helped foster an interactive learning environment. As a result of this, students were heavily engaged in numerous retail-related discussions. The course material provided me with the necessary fundamental skills and knowledge in buying processes to pursue my career goals. Our instructor drew from her work experience to teach us the ins-and-outs of merchandising and truly cared about her students.

2) What was an interesting class project that you worked on?

Coincidentally, it would have to be the final project for RMG909 - Advanced Buying Process II. It was interesting because it was a culmination of all of the smaller assignments we did during the semester. This meant combining everything I learned in the class and applying it to the final project. The project was to essentially put together a 6 Month Merchandising Plan, which involved creating an assortment of products.

This included using Excel to calculate key retail metrics and applying theory to the decisions that I made. I also really appreciated the fact that this project had ample room for flexibility and creativity. The most rewarding part about completing this class project was how much of an advantage it provided me during my search for an internship. I showed hiring managers this particular project and they were all impressed with how relevant the material was to the day-to-day duties of a merchant.

3) What was one reflection you recall having learned during your internship?

First off, I need to emphasize how incredible and rewarding of an experience it was to have been a part of the internship program at Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC). I can’t speak highly enough about the organization, the work culture, and the employees. The team that I worked with (Menswear) welcomed me with open arms and taught me invaluable skills that I will now carry forward for the rest of my career.

It is very difficult for me to talk about just one reflection. That being said, the most important lesson that I learned from my time at HBC was the importance of asking questions. Internships are meant to be learning experiences. My manager, and even higher-ups, encouraged participation from interns during meetings, buying appointments, and group discussions. If there was something I didn’t understand or know how to do, I chose to ask my colleagues for help. I also made it clear to those who I worked with that I wanted to learn as much as possible. So, if there is just one piece of advice that I would give to those searching for or entering internships/co-ops, it would be to ask questions and get involved.

4) What is the value of getting involved with student groups?

I have been getting involved with student groups for as long as I can remember. There is so much value in getting involved and my only regret is not getting involved even more. I have held numerous leadership positions at this school.

I was the Executive Vice President of the Retail Students’ Association (RSA), external link, opens in new window last year and am proud to be appointed President of the RSA this year (2018-2019). It is truly humbling to work with like-minded individuals who share a common goal – to provide students with exceptional experiential learning opportunities. There are endless benefits to getting involved, most notably building relationships with peers, faculty, and industry professionals. Student groups also develop your soft skills through collaboration and teamwork. I highly recommend getting involved with student groups as they truly enhance your university experience.

5) What are some tips you can give to future students?

Your university experience is what you make of it. First and foremost, education is the most important part of the experience, so study and study hard. Time will seem like a luxury but don’t lose sight of what is most important in life - family, friends, and your mental health. Get involved and get involved early. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and take those leaps of faith by joining student groups, attending events, and being an active participant in your community. It is a privilege to attend such a great school so take every advantage that the school offers you.

6) What is something you learned in class that you applied in your work experience?

All of the Buying-related classes that I took (RMG400 and RMG909) were directly applied to my work experience. From assortment planning to calculating key performance indicators, the skills and knowledge that I acquired from those classes helped set me up for success in my career. Many of the topics covered in class involve real-world examples which helped prepare me for the professional world. During my time at Hudson’s Bay Company, I used what I had learned in class to calculate financial metrics, and applied theory to my decision making. It is remarkable to see the direct correlation between Retail Management course materials and the business world.  

7) Why TRSM? What made you come to TRSM for retail management?

I moved to Toronto from Vancouver to pursue my dream of working as a buyer in the fashion industry and eventually taking on an executive role. I decided to pursue retail as a career because I am a firm believer of loving what you study and loving what you do. I would not be studying Retail Management at TRSM if it weren’t for my incredible friends. It was their encouragement that gave me the confidence I needed to move across the country to pursue my dream.

What motivates me is knowing that the decisions I make can potentially impact society, whether it be identifying trends or influencing the way consumers shop. I love to learn and I knew that in order to succeed in the retail industry, I needed to acquire the proper skillset and knowledge through TRSM’s renowned Retail Management program