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Neiman Marcus Career: Executive Development Program?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Peli, Jan 26, 2016.

  1. Peli

    Peli Active Member

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    Hey guys, I'm wondering if any of you industry insiders can shed some light on this program. The way they describe it themselves, the program is "the beginning of a successful merchant career at Neiman Marcus" that goes Assistant Buyer -> Buyer/Merchandise Planner -> Buyer/Manager Merchandise Planner etc.

    Is it well regarded by outsiders? Are there opportunities for placement outside Neiman Marcus afterwards i.e. exits?

    https://www.neimanmarcuscareers.com/edp/index.shtml

    I appreciate your thoughts!
     
  2. Astaroth

    Astaroth Senior member

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    What is most important is that they say you have a 12 week training session then you are a teams assistant. There is no guarantee of how long that job will last nor that your career will ever go above assistant.

    I cannot say for this company in particular but with other companies where I have worked with their graduate schemes then for the vast majority there was no "fast track" to management, no additional career development support and a fair few were basically overworked dogs bodies that are discarded when burnout sets in. Naturally this does depend on the company but as much to whom you were an assistant.
     
  3. topcatny

    topcatny Senior member

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    I started my career in a similar training program for Abraham & Straus, a company that merged with Macy's 1 1/2 years later. I was an assistant buyer, then planner, then back to an assistant buyer at Macy's after we merged, then went to Lord & Taylor and then moved to the vendor side where I have worked ever since. If you want to work in the buying offices of a retailer this is the best way to go about it.

    As far as opportunities outside of Neiman Marcus there will be opportunities but most of them will require that you move. Moving may not be a big deal to you but could make your job search a little more challenging. Most companies will not pay relocation for anything below the Buyer level. If you are looking to move to someplace like NY where there is a larger talent pool to choose from, being from out of town may push you down the list of potential candidates for a position.

    I do not have any first hand experience with anyone who went through the Neiman Marcus training program but I have never heard anyone say bad things about it either. I know a few people we were recruiting out of college when I was at Lord & Taylor ended up choosing the Neiman Marcus program instead.

    If you have any more specific questions let me know and I will do my best to answer.
     
  4. Peli

    Peli Active Member

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    Thank you! That was enormously helpful. There's only so much guidance I could expect from Neiman's HR managers.

    When it comes to this industry, is it common for buyers to move on into strategy or analyst roles? I have a strong, quantitative background with an Economics degree from a Wall Street target-school and want to leverage those skills as much as I can.
     
  5. topcatny

    topcatny Senior member

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    In my experience it is uncommon for buyers to move into strategy or analyst roles. They train you to be a buyer/planner and the career path typically keeps you in one of the merchant roles. Some retailers offer a "finance" training program as well. I am not sure if NM offers this. If it is offered it is usually a small program and not highly publicized. Most of the recruiting effort will center around the buying office and store management.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Peli

    Peli Active Member

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    Thanks for that. What do the best buyers and planners do to stand out? Where do the ambitious end up, and how?

    My biggest concern is the low hours and low expectations for these roles. Are there opportunities to be outstanding and be rewarded for it?
     
  7. topcatny

    topcatny Senior member

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    The best buyers are the ones who run a successful & profitable business. If you can consistently make your sales plan and margin goals for your department it will be noticed.

    As an assistant starting out, an ability to catch on quick will help you stand out. There is a lot of menial work as an assistant buyer. You have to be diligent and organized and make sure you don't skip over all of the details as much as some of the work is not exciting. You also have to show that you "get" what being a buyer is really about. While everyone thinks it's fun to pick out cool clothes for the store and create an amazing assortment etc. the bottom line is you have to pick out what sells. Even if that is not what you personally like or would choose for yourself. The fun part to me about being a buyer is running the business and adjusting in season when things don't go as you planned. You also don't know what department you may be working in as well. You may be thinking in your mind that it would be fun to work with men's tailored clothing but, you could end up in the women's petites department. The key is the principles of being a good buyer are the same no matter what department you are working in.

    Theire are opportunities to continue to advance. Obviously, as you move up the org chart there are less positions and promotions harder to come by. After buyer there are DMM's who are responsible for 3-5 or 6 buyers. After them is the GMM. Who is responsible for entire categories like all of men's. There are merchandising opportunities, private label development and so on. If you are good you can make a career out of it. The best way to get those promotions is to be a "go-getter" Not settling for average or mediocre , always looking to make your business better with new ideas and energy.

    I rambled a bit so I am not sure if I answered your question. Let me know if there is anything else you'd like to know.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. JezeC

    JezeC Senior member

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    if you want to move into strategy or analyst role, why not start your career in investment banking - in a retail coverage group
     
  9. Peli

    Peli Active Member

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    @JezeC Since the top investment banks are currently off-cycle with their recruiting, I'll have to look at middle market or boutique for now. Do you have recommendations?
     

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