In my own words ...
In their native language with English subtitles, students share their experiences as International Students in the Department of Geography at Binghamton University.
A Focus on Human Geographers Impact on the Business World
David McAleese, BA Class of 2004, MA Class of 2006
David graduated with a BA (20) and MA (20) with an emphasis on urban geography, applied
geography and retail geography. He learned theory and analytical methods in a variety
of classes and one important experience was serving as lead analyst on a sponsored
locational study, serving as a research assistant who presented results to a client.
He went Macy's as a beginning store and market analyst and has been promoted a number
of times, including to VP of the Area Research Department. David provides some personal
information and explains his duties and appreciation for his education this way.
Vice President of Macy's Area Research Department
My background in Geography, and particularly the emphasis on the applied side of the discipline, provided me with a strong foundation with which I developed my career. As the nature of my responsibilities has shifted away from new store opportunities and site selection to focusing on more strategic assessments of our portfolio, the common skill required has been the ability to analyze and interpret data. In an organization where more and more decisions are coming to rely on analytics, having these skills and approaching problems from a spatial perspective has been an asset. I am grateful to the B.U. Geography Department for helping me develop these skills.
As a Vice President in the Macy's Area Research Department, I oversee a small team that handles all research responsibilities for Macy's Northeast and South regions, as well as the Bloomingdale's division. This entails completing analyses and making recommendations relating to new store planning, remodels, store closures, consolidations and lease negotiations. I am also responsible for identifying potential candidates for roll-outs of new initiatives, including Macy's off-price store-within-store concept, Macy's Backstage, and Bloomingdale's Outlet. In addition, I provide support to the EVP of Real Estate by evaluating Macy's strategic positioning in markets, weighing in on value-creation opportunities and assessing performance across our brick-and-mortar locations and Macy's.com. It is worth noting that due to the small size of the Area Research department, a large portion of my time now is devoted to leveraging relationships across different functions and ensuring I am the subject-matter expert on geographic market dynamics (almost like an internal consultant) as a means to influence key decisions.
I live in the Cincinnati metro area with my wife, Randi (also a B.U. grad), and four-year old daughter Corryn. We miss the east coast but enjoy the quality of life here in the Midwest.
Esther Ofori, MA Class of 2008
Esther studied urban-economic geography with an emphasis on retailing. Her thesis
included ethnic businesses and the roles of economic redevelopment in a neighborhood
of NYC. She has been promoted several times since joining Macy's and started in their
Cincinnati, Ohio office before moving to their office in NYC. She began her career
research analyst in area research and moved into financial analysis and, most recently,
manager of investment strategies.
MACY's Department Stores, Manhattan, NYC
Manager of Investment Strategy/Central Planning Manger
I graduated from the Geography Program at Binghamton University with a Bachelors of
Arts degree in 2006 and remained there to complete my Masters of Arts degree in 2008.
I focused on the Urban Planning and Retail Analysis tract, which had strong emphasis
on applying theory learned in the classroom to solving real life issues. My advisors
were Professors John Frazier and Eugene Tettey-Fio.
I can confidently say that my education at Binghamton University prepared me well and provided the excellent foundation needed to succeed in the corporate world - I initially drew upon the research, GIS and presentation skills daily before my learning curve began in other fields.
In my current position as a manager, I have played a key role in the national roll out of the new women's shoe program by contributing to the design of the staffing model for support associates. I also built a budget to support this new initiative. I also oversee the monthly ROF (about $400 million) for Macy's stores in the two largest regions of the company, working closely with regional leaders to identify opportunities for increased productivity. Finally, I created a new tool for the identification of the most important sales opportunities for strategic businesses, such as cosmetics, which is used by over 250,000 associates nationwide.
I am truly thankful to the passionate professors that provided support and encouragement during my undergraduate and graduate years at BU. They pushed me to understand my full potential and that has helped me develop the confidence I needed to succeed not only in the career path I have chosen but in life in general.