Suresh Lal

Suresh graduated from the Postgraduate Certificate Fashion: Fashion Buying and Merchandising and explains how his journey from Hugo Boss to a Pure Mathematics degree led him to this course. He is now Assistant Merchandiser of Beauty at Harrods.

At sixteen, I was lucky enough to get my first job working for Hugo Boss UK, and developed a huge passion for apparel and fashion, which was fuelled by wanting to earn my own money, as well as because of the people I worked with. I completed my GCSE’s in all compulsory subjected as well as creative extras such as product design and graphic design and achieved grade A* in mathematics without being in the top set; and took mathematics, Economics, Psychology and Biology.

During my A-levels, I developed a flare for maths and problem solving, which led me onto applying for Pure Mathematics courses at university. Was accepted to University of Greenwich but completed a gap year before going, where I worked for Coutts (RBS) within the finance wealth management division. During my time there, I realised that finance was definitely not the career for me, but went on to do maths nevertheless.

I graduated from UoG with a first class Honours degree in Pure Mathematics and was absolutely lost with regards to career direction. At this point, I wanted to pursue a career within the fashion industry and applied for jobs within buying & creative and discovered merchandising, which I had never heard of before, but that link between numerical skills and fashion knowledge was just what I was looking for. I applied for jobs, but kept getting rejected due to lack of experience.

This pushed me to visit the LCF postgraduate website, where I found the PGCert Fashion: B&M short course. I applied for the course and got the place! At this point I was working at Harrods, alongside studying. The course was a complete brick in the face – a lot more intense than I had ever thought (probably even a tad more difficult than my maths degree…)! However the benefits spoke for themselves – I was offered a job within the International division at Debenhams before I had even graduated. The course was an excellent introduction into the B&M industry and is a realistic representation of working life. I think it is an essential step before actually working within the B&M industry as you are expected to know the basics before you start – your skills are then built up and tailored when you begin work.

I am now Assistant Merchandiser of Beauty at Harrods, which requires a substantial amount of market knowledge and excellent comms and negotiation skills in order to get the right products to market.