BU Geography and Beyond

In my own words ...

Fuad Olowo

In their native language with English subtitles, students share their experiences as International Students in the Department of Geography at Binghamton University.

Juliette Chauveau 

Juliette Chauveau
En français:

Mon semestre passé à l'Université de Binghamton – et plus précisément au sein du Département de Géographie, restera l'un des plus enrichissants de ma vie.

Je n'ai pas seulement appris plus que je ne le pensais possible grâce à des professeurs brillants et engagés : j'ai également rencontré une communauté de futurs géographes qui influencera sans aucun doute le futur de notre discipline.

En tant qu'étudiante française en semestre d'échange, j'ai pu suivre les cours de Planification
Urbaine, de Planification Durable et de Santé & Environnement : j'étais très intéressée par la Planification Urbaine, mais je souhaitais également enrichir mes connaissances en matière de Santé et d'Environnement.

Mes trois classes étaient fascinantes : les professeurs enseignant à l'Université de Binghamton sont extrêmement renommés dans les disciplines respectives, leurs cours sont très intéressants and la diversité des étudiants qui y assistent permet un échange de perspectives constant et enrichissant. Les classes se composent de projets, de cours et de discussions ; chaque classe est équilibrée entre théorie et pratique, et cette dualité est plus qu'appréciable. La partie théorique des classes permet aux étudiants d'appliquer leurs connaissances théoriques en dehors de l'Université lors de projets qui les intéressent – et qu'ils choisissent bien souvent. Le projet concernant le développement de la ville de Johnson City, par exemple, offre une réelle expérience du métier et des missions du géographe. Faire partie de ce projet considérable – dans ses aspects tant humains que techniques – a constitué pour moi une expérience formidable et je suis impatience de pouvoir en constater les résultats dans les prochaines années.

Alors que je débute ma dernière période d'étude et réalise un stage dans le domaine du
développement et de la Planification à Paris, je me dois de remercier le département de Géographie de l'Université de Binghamton et ses membres : ils m'ont aidée à développer mes compétences géographiques et humaines, et le semestre passé auprès d'eux m'a ouvert de nombreuses portes – tant scolaires que professionnelles.

Je recommande absolument cette expérience à tout étudiant International : à titre personnel, je n'oublierai pas le Département de Géographie de Binghamton, ni ses formidables membres.

In English:

My time at Binghamton University , and most especially in the Geography Department, was one of the most fulfilling of my life.

Not only have I learned more than I thought possible, thanks to brilliant and dedicated teachers, I've also met a community of geographers that will undoubtedly influence the future of the field. As an International student coming from France, I've studied Urban Planning, Urban Sustainability and Health and Environment courses. I was very interested in Urban Planning, but also always wanted to learn about Health Issues and patterns. 

All of my three courses were interesting in their own ways: the professors teaching at Binghamton University are highly renowned in their respective fields, the classes were fascinating and the mix of very diverse students offered perspectives I could never have thought of. The courses were mixes of projects, lessons, and discussions: each class provides a balance between theoretical concepts and practical work in a very enlightening manner. The theoretical part of the classes allow the students to apply their knowledge outside of the school, in projects that have meaning for them. The Johnson City Revitalization project especially provided a real insight into the geographer's work and missions : being a (small) part of this human and technical project was fascinating and I can't wait to see it's results in the following years.

Now, as I begin my final year of studies and realize an internship related to Planning and
Sustainability issues in Paris, I am truly thankful to the Geography Department at Binghamton University and to its brilliant members  they helped me develop my geographical – and human – skills and the semester I spent in Binghamton University offered me numerous scholar and professional opportunities.

I very strongly recommend this amazing experience to any International student. I will personally never forget my time at the Department and the amazing scholars I met there

Alumni Updates

A Focus on Human Geographers Impact on the Business World 

David McAleese,

BA Class of 2004, MA Class of 2006
Vice President of Macy's Area Research Department
Cincinnati, Ohio

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David McAleese Photography:  .

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.

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

MACY's Department Stores, Manhattan, NYC
Manager of Investment Strategy/Central Planning Manger

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Esther Ofori Photography:  .

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.

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.