Successful AU Alumna Series: Maeghan Crociata

This is the first installment of a series featuring successful American University alumna. 

Maeghan Crociata is one of the most driven and passionate students I have had the pleasure of knowing. She gives great career development advice and her spirit can instantly put a smile on anyone's face. As a recent graduate of the Kogod School of Business, Maeghan recieved a degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Sports and Entertainment Marketing. Throughout her time at American, she held multiple internships, several on- and- off-campus jobs and diverse leadership positions through her involvement in her sorority and fraternity. Currently, Maeghan is a Graudate Development Associate at Foot Locker, a year-long pilot rotation program that will allow her to circulate through different business departments. 

Her Campus America University: What made you want to work at Foot Locker? How did you originally hear about the position?

Maeghan Crociata: I originally heard about this program through the KCCD. When I worked as a Peer Consultant, Annie Matanin (Director of Employee Relations) was my Guardian Angel and really helped me during my job search. She emailed me the information for the OCR [on-campus recruiting] date because it was related to “sports business” and I applied. Three rounds of interviews later, I was chosen as one of the four pioneers of the program! This program is a really special opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the sports apparel business and get a well-rounded view of the product and consumer. In addition, we are encouraged to wear sneakers every day! Who wouldn’t want that?!

 

HCAU: Walk me through a typical day. What are your primary duties and responsibilities?

MC: This is a loaded question, for sure. Currently I am in the buying rotation so my day-to-day involves creating SKUs (stockkeeping units) for new products that are coming in, updating the release calendar for signature basketball products for store associates, collaborating with marketing team to create Black Friday/”Week of Greatness” product schedule, attending vendor meetings to discuss new products, balance assortment and negotiate units for 2016. Before I was in buying, I was in planning where I would generate sales reports and analyze the data to interpret trending or downtrending products or categories. Pretty different!     

HCAU: What is your favorite part of working at Foot Locker?

MC: My favorite part of working at Foot Locker is definitely the culture. Every morning, the daily buzz is about which players are being picked up for big money contracts with brands or who we think will be the next player to come out with a signature shoe. We get to wear sneakers every day to work, if we so choose, and we get a discount on the products in our stores and online. Most of all, Foot Locker is very invested in the success of this program and I have the opportunity to meet people across all departments, gain mentors who have been in this business for years and pick their brains and develop new skills that I never thought I would learn!

HCAU: How did your previous internships and classes help prepare you for the “real world”?

MC: My previous marketing internships gave me experience with fast-paced environments, managing deadlines and client relationships, along with developing my networking skills with co-workers. Managing deadlines, multi-tasking and prioritization are the most important skills in the real world because there is never “down time” once you begin working full time! The most relevant class that applies to my current job is Organizational Behavior (MGMT 353 in Kogod). It is unreal how important corporate culture, customs and hierarchy are, and these are all things that young college grads would never think about. Even though Professor Bird retired, I am so grateful for all I learned in her class because it is all relevant and important.

HCAU: What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?

MC: GREAT question! I love career counseling! I think the most important piece of advice I’ve received is from Wim Taylor (Director of Alumni Relations, KCCD) and he simply said: “Be hungry.” When looking for jobs or internships, you can’t stop at five applications and think that the perfect one will drop from the sky in a parachute right into your lap. If you really want to be in a certain industry or have a certain company on your resume, you need to be hungry. Network using alumni databases, friends, Greek organizations, classmates, professors. Use LinkedIn to view which skills people in that industry are looking for. Find other AU students who have interned there and ask to talk to them about their experiences. Apply to positions that you may not exactly qualify for – you never know, you may be the only candidate. If you want something, work for it. Be hungry.

HCAU: What advice do you have for current AU students looking to break into marketing?

MC: So my job is not in the marketing field – it’s very much in the retail space. But the goal is to be placed in the marketing department at the end of this, because I am so passionate about marketing. For young marketers, there are a few things you all need to start doing.

1. Create a LinkedIn. Today.2. Subscribe to free marketing newsletters – AdAge & AdWeek are great ones to get started with.3. When going on an interview, always have at least one current event in the industry in the back of your mind. Knowing current events shows interest and that you’re willing to “walk the walk.”4. Learn complementary skills – Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator, Microsoft Excel & Powerpoint, Google Adwords (Kogod & Bender Library have classes on these programs all the time! Or you can use Lynda, an online tutorial service). 

HCAU: Where do you see yourself in five years?

MC: I see myself working in the entertainment marketing space, ideally in television, in New York City. I know this seems a little weird, seeing as my current job relates to the sports marketing part of my degree, but after previously interning with National Geographic Channel, I fell in love with the television industry and couldn’t get enough of the entertainment part of my degree. Everything I learn at Foot Locker will be applicable to my future endeavors and I'm excited to see where my career path takes me!

 

All photos courtesy of Maeghan Crociata.