My experience as one of five finalists for the NRF Next Generation scholarship 2018 was a wild ride! From applying to the scholarship not even knowing what "NRF" stood for or what the National Retail Federation did for its involved students and retailers, to becoming emotionally and professionally invested in the NRF Student Program, Gala, and Next Gen scholarship, I am so grateful for the opportunities and experiences I've had along the way.
I would have never dreamed of having personal interactions with executives such as Karen Katz (recently retired CEO of Neiman Marcus) and Doug McMillon (CEO of Walmart). I was inspired by various speakers throughout the Student Program weekend and the NRF Gala - there are far too many to name.
I was able to have my resume reviewed and I even scored interviews with some incredible retailers! Though I did not receive first place for the Next Generation scholarship, the students, leaders, and corporate retail employees with whom I mingled this past weekend allowed me to gain so much more than a title. I was extremely inspired and challenged in the best of ways by my fellow finalists - and am confident that I gained a network for life through them. I was impressed by the humble leadership and wise advice of many executives who took the time to get to know aspiring students. I also had not expected to receive a fist bump from Shaquille O'Neil, the Gala's special guest!
I can only hope that more RMI students will take advantage of all that the program has to offer through opportunities like our partnership with the National Retail Federation. I cannot encourage involvement enough! The Student Program and the Gala provided me with an invaluable wealth of knowledge that I will carry with me throughout my studies at Santa Clara and into the future. I am so grateful to the NRF and to everyone working for the RMI and its success at Santa Clara for helping make this weekend possible for me and my other new friends and peers from SCU that were able to attend! I can't wait to go back to NYC for next year's program - that's the plan!
I am so fortunate to be a part of RMI and to have attended some incredible, life-changing, career-influencing NRF events.