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All About Executive Training Programs

posted by Todd Lotcpeich

Are you interested in a career in buying, planning, merchandising, or retail management at one of the major retailers? If so, you probably want to take a closer look at an Executive Training Program (ETP) for after college. Major retailers such as Lord & Taylor, URBN, Inc., Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and Saks Fifth Avenue are the types of retailers that offer such programs. 

What is an ETP? An ETP is a structured, full-time program that provides entry-level candidates exposure to all levels of a retailer’s business with in-depth guidance to prepare those candidates for roles in buying, planning, merchandising, or retail management at that particular organization. They are so structured and competitive that the application process typically starts two semesters prior to when a student graduates with their degree. For instance, retailers are recruiting for their summer 2016 programs right now.

There are two main types of ETPs: merchant and retail management. For those students that want to pursue a career in a corporate setting, merchant is the way to go. For those with aspirations of becoming a store or district manager, retail management is for you.

Both types of programs provide some of the best training in the industry in their respective areas.  In a merchant program, you can expect to learn things like reporting systems, how to manage your own open-to-buy plan, elements of financial forecasting, how a buyer buys products, and how a planner or allocator maintains store assortments. In a retail management program, you can expect rotations in all facets of store operations, including human resources, merchandising, marketing, receiving, and finance. 

What makes a good ETP candidate? Students that possess a very high level of retail math and Excel competency, are comfortable with numbers, and have typically some buying or merchandising internship experience are seen as good candidates. You also must maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA at the time of your application, though some programs require a slightly higher GPA.  Some programs also require you to have interned at the company prior to even being able to apply to their ETP.  This is the case in particular for Saks Fifth Avenue. So if it is your dream to be a buyer there, please take a look at their summer internship program before you are a senior!

How do you apply to a program? In the fall semester of your senior year, you will have the opportunity to join that year’s LIM ETP cohort. By joining the cohort you will have access to personal advising and resume review in order to help you through the application process. You will also receive all information regarding deadlines and how to prepare for interviews, which are extremely challenging.  Since ETPs are not right for everyone, only students that join the cohort will have access to that information. You will receive details on how to join the cohort during the first or second week of the fall semester of your senior year.    

Any questions? Please feel free to reach out to me directly.

By: Todd Lotcpeich, Recruiting Coordinator

Topics: fashion industry, Student Advice, Career Services