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Graduate Excels In Retail Management

Graduate Excels In Retail Management

Oct 28, 2013

Roanoke Valley Campus graduate Amber Motley is the definition of a people-person. She thrives on working in a fast-paced environment, meeting new people, and helping them with their needs. Because Amber loves being around people so much, she chose to pursue a degree in tourism and hospitality. After checking out several other colleges and feeling like she was getting the run-around, Amber found that ANU made it really easy to get the information she needed and straightforward answers to her questions.

Amber also appreciated ANU’s flexible scheduling that allowed her to work full-time as a sales associate, while also attending classes full-time, and participating in an externship program with the Roanoke Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau. She graduated from the tourism and hospitality management associate’s degree program last year, and the education she received has already helped her advance in her career at Men’s Wearhouse, a suit and tuxedo rental retail store.

While still a student, Amber was promoted to assistant manager.  After completing her degree, she was offered the opportunity to move to the Lynchburg, Virginia store to become the store manager. Since taking this position at the beginning of this year, Amber’s store has seen sales totals far surpassing any previous sales figures the store has ever had.  By September, the store had even already exceeded its annual sales goal for the year.   

While managing a men’s clothing store isn’t the first thing that comes to mind for a graduate from a tourism and hospitality program, the business and customer service skills are readily transferable to many occupations.  When opportunity knocked, Amber had the education and skills needed to open that door, thanks to ANU.

She credits ANU’s tourism and hospitality program with helping her gain the experience she needed in order to be promoted to management, and in turn to help boost the store’s sales. “It’s not your typical degree,” she explains. “It’s a unique program. You learn about all aspects of the hospitality industry and how they work together—and how that impacts the economy.” Although she hesitates to take full credit, it is clear that Amber’s go-getter attitude and strong work ethic have greatly contributed to the store’s success.

Amber says the best part of receiving an education at ANU was the extremely helpful faculty who taught from their own real-world scenarios rather than just out of a textbook. “I enjoyed learning from teachers’ and other students’ experiences,” she says. “It helped me realize more about my own disposition and how I interact with other people.” She particularly appreciates the guidance she received from ANU instructors who went the extra mile, including Gail van Duursen, who she says was very honest and straightforward about what to expect while working in the hospitality industry, and Neal Engers, whose oral communications course gave her the skills necessary to conduct public speaking engagements at local high schools and colleges.

Amber recently attended such an event at the Lynchburg Campus where she helped present a “Dress for Success” demonstration, advising students on expectations for what to wear to a job interview. “I have a desire to continuously learn new things and share them with other people,” she says. Her advice to those pursuing higher education: “Go for it. You have to work for what you want.”

(A)-Graduate Amber Motley is the store manager of the Men’s Wearhouse in Lynchburg, Virginia.

(B)- Amber Motley, Men’s Wearhouse Lynchburg store manager, and Tabitha Serfass, Men’s Wearhouse Roanoke store manager, presented at a “Dress for Success” event at the ANU Lynchburg Campus.




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tags: VA-Roanoke Valley Tourism and Hospitality: Tourism and Hospitality - Associate's Degree (NTH)