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Selena Le

Education2nd Year Student - B.Comm in Retail Management (Co-op)

1) What was your favourite course and why?

Honestly, I have loved all the classes that are retail-specific (so any RMG course). I am so lucky to have enthusiastic and wise professors that are eager to shape their students into industry leaders. The careers my professors have had beyond Ryerson is extremely motivating and validating to me as a student, as they prove how exciting the Retail industry is.

In particular, Issues and Innovations (RMG 100) is a class I’ll never forget. Every week we covered current trends (good or bad) occurring in the retail industry. The way our professor taught us how to think critically and analyze strategies with a modern lens has helped me in every course since. I love that we learned from real-world examples, instead of pouring over textbook material.

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

I like any class project that involves an in-depth analysis of a retail business. I’ve done a few of those in classes such as MKT 100-Principles of Marketing and RMG 301-Retail Operations. I find it rewarding to be able to apply the theory I learned in class to actual businesses. Also, researching deeply into major retailers makes you a very knowledgeable consumer. As I write these kinds of papers, I find myself reflecting on whether or not I support these business’ practices, and what it says about my individual values if I consume their goods/service.

3) What was one reflection that you learned / gained from starting your own business?

BLCKSHEEPSTUDIOS, external link, opens in new window is my jewelry business that focuses on trendy, affordable, and handmade pieces.

I started BLCKSHEEPSTUDIOS when I was 16! A major skill I have developed since then is confidence. I have learned to trust myself and know the value of my craft. I was so apprehensive to start my line because I was embarrassed to expose myself to the world. It is bold to assume that you have a product that people want to buy (or buy a lot of at least). But having the confidence to push boundaries, take on challenges head-first, and embrace risks, has rewarded BLCKSHEEPSTUDIOS (and by association, myself) in so many ways. If I had any advice it would be: Do what makes you scared!

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

I’m actually not a part of any student groups! I’m a strong believer in quality over quantity and I choose to invest deeply into select extracurriculars instead of being a minor part of various clubs. I want to preface this by saying I don’t think clubs at Ryerson are boring or invaluable. I just came to school with extracurriculars I was already committed to.

My time is pretty much split into thirds, with school, my part-time job at H&M, and BLCKSHEEPSTUDIOS. I find this works best for me because I am passionate about all these avenues, and therefore commit my best effort into all of them. At school, I have a strong GPA and multiple renewing scholarships. At H&M, I have been able to form tight relationships with my team and be in charge of the visual merchandising in the accessories department. Finally, BLCKSHEEPSTUDIOS has grown exponentially over the last two years in ways I could not have imaged when I was 16. I love the few extracurriculars I pursue and have been able to develop deeply with them because I have more time to dedicate.

Personally, it does not feel right to join a student group just to say I did. It would not be fair to either party. I definitely think you should expand your horizons outside of class, but do things that actually interest you. Don’t pursue extracurriculars to try and social climb or as a resume filler, do it for your personal growth. You will be shocked at how all areas of your life blossom when you put hard work into what makes you passionate.

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

Do what makes you happy, and be good at it. Success is equal parts passion and hard work.

Also: answer your professor’s questions in class, take advantage of office hours, pursue some type of extracurricular, get a job in your field, go to the events your program holds, and utilize the Business Career Hub, opens in new window.

Ultimately, you are on your own journey. Try to absorb as much knowledge as you can, and do what you think is best for yourself.