2023 Best & Brightest Business Major: Rachel Anderson, Texas A&M University (Mays)

Rachel Anderson

Texas A&M University, Mays Business School

“I am a world traveler, artist, photographer, athlete, businesswoman, and a daughter, sister, and friend.”

Fun fact about yourself: I have been sewing since I was 10 years old and made my prom dress and a four piece collection for my high school advanced fashion design fashion show along with many other dresses and garments.

Hometown: San Antonio, Texas

High School: Brandeis High School

Major: Marketing with a concentration in Retail Buying & Management

Minor: None

Favorite Business Course: Strategic Digital Marketing

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College: I am a member of the Corps of Cadets where I currently serve as the First Wing Executive Officer and oversee about 200 cadets and a staff of 7 people. Last year, I was the Public Relations and Recruiting Sergeant in which I ran the social media accounts and recruiting of prospective cadets for First Wing and worked with a staff of 11 people. I am also an active member of Delight Ministries, a women’s Bible study group that meets on campus and also participates in social and service events. My sophomore year, I was the University and Budget Coordinator, and I worked with a team of 7 leaders and ran the finances and reimbursements for the organization. I am also highly involved in the Mays Business School Center for Retailing Studies, where I was selected as a Zale Leadership Scholar my junior year and participated in an undergraduate professional development program for top students in retailing at Mays. I was also an active member of the Student Retailing Association, where I am earning my Professional Distinction in Retail. I attended New York Fashion Week and the National Retail Federation Student Program in New York City as part of the Center for Retailing Studies my senior year. I frequently volunteer in the local community with the Corps of Cadets and Delight Ministries at food banks and doing street clean ups.

Where have you interned during your college career? I was an Apparel Merchandising Intern on the dresses buying team at the Altar’d State corporate office in Knoxville, Tennessee the summer after my junior year (June-July 2022). While there, I put in purchase orders and managed orders using Excel spreadsheets, met with vendors to select merchandise, managed relationships through email, and prepared weekly selling reports to share with buyers.

Where will you be working after graduation? I will not start a job immediately after graduation, but I am attending Colorado State University to earn my Master’s in Apparel Design and Merchandising.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? I have learned that business is a broad and critical industry in society today. Every kind of job revolves around business, and there are so many functions that go into it, such as finance, accounting, management, marketing, and supply chain management. By taking a variety of core business knowledge classes, I have been able to gain a broad understanding of business as a whole, while also finding out how specific different marketing focuses can be, like advertising, professional selling, or retail.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? I would suggest to anyone interested in business as a major to do it because it is one of the most helpful and applicable majors to any industry and even personal financial management. You can choose more specific focuses within the business field, depending on your interest, but you will also gain a broad understanding of all business functions. I would also suggest doing personal research as well as asking peers and mentors about their personal experience in college or the workforce to better understand what kind of business career path to take.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? What surprised me the most was that Marketing itself has so many different tracks and elements. Before coming to college, I planned to have a concentration in advertising because that is all I thought marketing was. After taking my first marketing class and talking to advisors and professionals, I realized that marketing is so much more. That is when I found my passion for retail marketing and learned about all the possibilities in that field.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? I am thankful for all the opportunities and experiences that my business school has given me, and the only thing I would have done differently is to have gotten involved in the business school more my freshman year to discover my passions and career focus earlier. I did not switch to the retail marketing track until my sophomore year and did not join the Student Retailing Association until the second semester of my sophomore year, so I missed out on some professional and networking opportunities early on.

What business leader do you admire most? The business leader that I admire the most is Tom Nolan, the CEO of Kendra Scott. I had the pleasure of meeting him when he visited with some of the Zale Leadership Scholars last year at Texas A&M; he is one of the most humble and genuine business leaders I have ever met. He gave us all his email address and encouraged us to network with him. I had done a class project on Kendra Scott in my Consumer Behavior class, and he asked for me to email it to him. He immediately responded not only with feedback but also that he had shared it with several company leaders and the marketing team. This opened up more networking opportunities and chances to share ideas with their corporate office, and I was very impressed with him taking time to talk to college students and hear our ideas. He also values selfless service and philanthropy, which I value as well, and for these reasons, he is the business leader I admire the most.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of being selected to attend New York Fashion Week with other top fashion and retailing students from across the country. This is because this has been a personal goal and dream of mine from a young age when I started sewing and watching Project Runway; I was not sure if it was attainable until I heard about the opportunity through the Center for Retailing Studies. Not only was it a selective application process, but I was also proud to be able to represent my university with so many bright students and have the opportunity to network with industry professionals in such a unique way that many don’t have access to doing.

Which classmate do you most admire? The classmate I most admire is Maggie Doerr, who is one of my fellow marketing students. We had known each other in high school, but we did not become close friends until we started taking classes together. Now she is someone who I admire and enjoy partnering with for group projects because I know she is hard-working and reliable. She had done the Kendra Scott project with me for Consumer Behavior and offered valuable insight from her experiences working with the brand in their stores. She is also very involved in her sorority and other off-campus activities, and I am impressed with her work ethic and time management skills.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I want to thank my brother, James, who inspired me and encouraged me to attend Texas A&M and join the Corps of Cadets. Without him, I would not be the person or student I am today and would not have pushed myself as much as he pushed me to get outside my comfort zone.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? Professionally, I want to find a job that allows me to travel around the world and experience different cultures and also hold a leadership position in a company, whether that be President, Chief Merchandising Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, or something similar, since I enjoy the challenge of leadership and management.

What are your hobbies? I enjoy traveling and experiencing new cultures, photography, sewing, and being active and outdoors.

What made Rachel such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“I wholeheartedly endorse Rachel to be named as a top senior at Mays Business School. Throughout her academic career, Rachel has consistently demonstrated a passion for retailing and a drive to succeed in the industry. Her participation in the M.B. Zale Leadership Scholar program and her involvement in the NRF Foundation’s Student Program and the U of NYFW program in New York are testament to her initiative and commitment to her professional development. As a member of the Student Retailing Association, Rachel has demonstrated her ability to build relationships with employers and has shown a keen understanding of the retail industry through her engagement in presentations. In addition, her performance in my Retail Merchandising class (MKTG 425) highlights her intelligence, attention to detail, and work ethic. With her leadership, integrity, and drive for excellence, Rachel truly embodies the qualities of a top senior at Mays Business School and I have no doubt that she will continue to achieve great success in her graduate program and ultimately in the retail industry.”

Thomas McMillan, MBA ‘05 Executive Professor
Director, Center for Retailing Studies Mays Business School



Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.