Lucia Yacono

Lucia Yacono, MM '20

Pursuing a Very Fashionable Future

Lucia didn’t realize how much opportunity lay in fashion until she spoke with a Michigan Ross alum who worked in the industry. The two chatted about various career paths, which gave Lucia a better idea of where she could find a fashion job that fit. Not long after that, she found herself setting up an interview at Bloomingdale’s New York offices. 

During undergrad, Lucia pursued a degree in economics with a focus on international industries. Her economics classes at U-M taught her how to think analytically about the world, something she valued. But as graduation approached, she realized she wanted to learn how to combine the analytical skills she’d learned in economics and the skills she’d learned in hospitality. Knowing that a research career in economics wasn’t her next step, she began to consider master's programs. 

Lucia came across the Michigan Ross Master of Management, a program directed towards non-business majors looking to cultivate and develop their own leadership and business skills.

Ross is well­-known for its career development. That's what interested me in the program: the guidance and career coaching to help me find a career I wanted to pursue.

Once admitted to the program, Lucia found that faculty and students were extremely supportive of one another: “There is a big focus on the bonding of the class, with meeting everyone during the summer and orientation, and emphasizing everyone is family, rather than rivals.” She was surprised at the range of majors in her cohort: some were pre-law, some were pre-med, and one was hoping to make it big as a comedian. “Beyond just what they bring to classroom discussions, just hearing about people's different undergraduate experiences, what they've been exposed to, or what they view as the norms on certain things, was definitely an interesting experience.” 

Lucia played a pivotal role as her cohort’s vice president. She planned bonding events like barn dances, bowling, trivia nights, and ice skating at the university's ice arena. Lucia felt like she was making an impact on an educational level as well; the student association board worked closely with the program’s director to ensure students were receiving a quality education and had the opportunity to suggest improvements for future classes and class events. Though Lucia's cohort was unable to celebrate their last week together due to COVID-19, she and the rest of the board quickly organized a beneficial way to utilize the budget that would have gone towards the celebration. “Instead of spending our money on an end­-of- the-­year event, we had a poll of what charity people wanted us to donate all our money to,” she explained. “We ended up giving to the Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels, a program that delivers food to homebound seniors.” 

Lucia highlights the Leadership Crisis Challenge as one of the more unique experiences she had during her time in the MM program. The Leadership Crisis Challenge gives students the opportunity to lead under pressure as they navigate a simulated company crisis. Working diligently with her team, made up of MBAs, Lucia says she got to test her collaboration skills while playing the role of the company’s CEO. “It was a great opportunity. I got to engage with a lot of MBA students and hear about their different work experiences, and also get to test my public speaking skills and presentation skills by being the CEO of the mock company,” she said. “I felt like it added a lot of value to the program in that we were getting access to a great resource, essentially. There was a lot to learn from one another in such a short timeframe.”

Beyond the development and social opportunities Lucia was involved in, she sought out resources to help her accomplish her career goals. Before joining Ross, Lucia found the thought of searching for a job to be a bit intimidating. Once at Ross though, she found their Career Development Office to have a pivotal role in motivating her to explore new career interests and connect with alumni in those fields. Lucia was able to land that job at Bloomingdale’s, as a part of their executive development program. There she’ll be training to become a fashion buyer; a position that allows her to communicate with clothing vendors, track deliveries, and learn which pieces best suit the company.  

Lucia believes in the program’s goal of admitting students from an array of different backgrounds. “The MM program can be for anyone,” she says. “It doesn’t matter what your background is, even if you don’t want to go into a traditional business role, regardless it teaches you the soft skills to be able to apply them to your future pursuits.”