Marielle Rivera had not expected to launch a career in luxury retail.
But thanks to a healthy dose of tenacity and resourcefulness—as well as some shrewd networking at a Fordham career fair—the Gabelli School of Business senior is en route to success in this elite market.
At an ordinary career fair during her sophomore year, Rivera struck up a lighthearted conversation about musical theater with a fellow enthusiast. The enthusiast turned out to be a representative for Sterling Publishing, and the connection led to the first of six internships Rivera would work over her time at Fordham.
“I started interning in my sophomore year and haven’t stopped since,” said Rivera, a marketing major specializing in communications and media management.
After the stint in publishing, Rivera realized she would be better suited for the challenge of a high-stress, fast-paced industry—like fashion.
She moved on to fashion marketing internships. When she realized how much she loved it when she got to work exclusive parties for designers and clients, she segued into special events planning and was hooked.
With six internships down and a resumé bullet-pointed with names such as Gucci and Calvin Klein, Rivera has found her niche in the luxury retail world. She worked twice at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and has mingled with the likes of Vogue editor Anna Wintour and Calvin Klein creative director Francisco Costa.
“There’s something about working luxury events. You’re working with a brand that has prestige, heritage, and culture, and it’s interesting to see how those details come up in the product,” she said. “The clients have high expectations, but I think they have every right to have them.”
Her success hasn’t come without sacrifice. To sustain her hectic interning schedule, Rivera often took night classes and had to give up performing with the Fordham Women’s Choir, in which she had been a soloist.
Nevertheless, to Rivera—who as a high school freshman informed her guidance counselor that she intended to land a full scholarship to college (ultimately, she was offered three)—the goal has been worth the effort. More than a month before graduation, she already had three full-time job offers, one of which she accepted. After graduation, she will begin as an account coordinator at an event marketing agency specializing in luxury clients.
“I’ve tried to take advantage of everything,” she said. “The number one thing I tell incoming freshmen is to go out and look for opportunities and to make your own luck. You have to take the initiative to make the most of your [college]experience.”