After working as a fashion designer for many years, Kia Brinkley knew she wanted to combine her creative flair with an in-depth understanding of the different forces that drive business.
Kia observed that the fashion industry, dynamic and fast-paced, lagged behind in adapting to evolving consumer preferences. She wanted to utilize core business tools, such as marketing and analytics, to gain real insight into fashion trends.
Ultimately, Kia decided that an MBA was key to synthesizing her distinct yet complementary set of skills, and in helping her to transition from fashion design to marketing. While pursuing her degree at Temple University’s Fox School of Business in Philadelphia, Kia secured a marketing internship at L’Oréal in New York
Like Kia, 54% of the MBA cohort at Fox don’t have previous business degrees. Fox's emphasis on diversity—of professional backgrounds and cultures—ensures that MBA students are exposed to a wide range of perspectives throughout their degree.
BusinessBecause caught up with Kia to find out more.
How did the internship at L’Oreal come about?
The National Black MBA conference was an amazing experience that I would never have had access to prior to getting my MBA. I was able to pitch myself as a candidate to talent recruiters from some of the most highly sought after employers, receive an invitation to interview, and ultimately receive an offer from L’Oréal; all over the course of a three-day career fair.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at Fox?
Before starting my MBA, I was an assistant and associate footwear designer within various companies. My early experience was in a licensee setting, which allowed me full reign over the brand I controlled.
I was granted access to top-level strategy meetings and allowed to express my point of view both creatively and strategically across several areas of the business. I think this is where the desire to learn more about this aspect of my profession began, which led me to pursue the Fox Global MBA.
I felt that I lacked concrete business acumen. I’ve always been applauded for my creativity, which I've spent years cultivating through my pre-college art focus and then during my undergraduate fashion degree.
However, I never had access to finance, marketing or analytics courses. An MBA seemed like the best way to build a foundation in all of these categories at once, and still be able to concentrate on the subject most attractive to me—marketing.
Why have you decided to switch track from fashion design to marketing?
In most settings, the fashion industry feels it has to be either creatively-driven or analytic-based instead of a culmination of the two. This is unlike the beauty industry, for example, where both concepts work simultaneously to influence businesses decisions.
I like this model better. I don’t want to be isolated into just designing shoes. I want access to data, which I can use to fuel my creative product development and propose interesting ways to capture the consumer directly.
How is the Fox MBA preparing you for the next step in your career?
The Fox Global MBA has granted me the foundation of business acumen that I previously felt I lacked, and which I needed in transitioning to a new business function. I was able to combine my creative nature and newly-obtained business acumen, and apply these skills through various practicum courses.
I’ll forever be a creative at heart but now I have firsthand knowledge of how valuable this can be across several industries and business functions. I can confidently present myself to employers as a unique and valuable candidate.
What stands out from your MBA experience?
The global immersion experiences are by far the stand-out factors of the Global MBA program. The program enabled me to expand my global business perspective to include India, Chile, and Colombia.
I will forever look at global branding and market expansion differently based on the firsthand experiences I was able to gain from studying business practices in these very different regions.