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Swapping the Classroom for a Runway

Swapping the Classroom for a Runway

Swapping the Classroom for a Runway

Above: Business Management Professor Ngoc Cindy Pham (far right) celebrates the Lunar New Year at a post–New York Fashion Week event at the New-York Historical Society. With Pham are Brooklyn College business major Lairab Tahir (third from right) and Imani Jones ’16 (third from left) from brand development company Find Your ID NYC, with whom Pham collaborates on assignments.

The Murray Koppelman School of Business Professor Ngoc Cindy Pham takes her students off campus and into New York City’s fashion world for real-world lessons in all aspects of business management.

From day one, students understand that class with Business Management Professor Ngoc Cindy Pham is going to be different. She brings doughnuts. It’s a tradition that began when she was teaching in Texas and brought tamales. It’s her way of injecting a warm informality into her classes at the Murray Koppelman School of Business. But she also does something else a bit different for her students: She takes them off campus to learn in the bigger classroom of New York City.

Brooklyn College senior Samantha Blafford with Professor Pham
Brooklyn College senior Samantha Blafford (with Professor Pham) dreamed of working in the fashion business. “But I had no experience working retail, or dealing with fabrics,” says Blafford, a vocal music performance major. That changed when she enrolled in Pham’s international business and consumer behavior class. With help from Pham, who assisted her in interview preparation, Blafford applied, through the Magner Career Center, for an internship at Style.Me, a 3-D virtual shopping site that invites users to enter their measurements for a custom fit. She got the internship, which recently became an actual job as a sales and operations associate. “I was able to use what I learned working with Find Your ID NYC on the Fashion Week show in a real-world situation,” says Blafford.

For the past two years, Pham has given her consumer business and international business students assignments relating to New York Fashion Week. To accomplish this, Pham works with Imani Jones ’16, who runs FYID NYC (Find Your ID NYC), a company with close ties to the Gotham fashion world that specializes in marketing, events, branding, and content creation. With Jones’ input, Pham tasks the students to produce shows that are mini versions of those on the famed runways. The assignment encompasses all aspects of a Fashion Week show, including creating a budget, marketing and promotion, production, working with designers, and hiring models. The business management professor also invites designers and fashion show producers to her classes to critique the students’ work. “This fall I am working with students from the Brooklyn College Chapter of the International Business Association to host a music and fashion festival on campus. Designers and artists from New York Fashion Week are appearing pro bono.”

Pham’s assignments reflect well her philosophy about using the city and its bustling activity as inspiration for lesson plans. In addition to the fashion world, she often assigns projects related to real estate. “The housing market here is of great interest to my students,” she says.

For now Pham continues to work with FYID NYC, and her students are looking to participate in Nike X Jordan events during the February 2020 shows. But she wants everyone, students and their potential employers alike, to know, “FYID NYC is just one of the companies I work with. I seek internships and job opportunities for my students at a variety of companies in New York, in all sectors of marketing.”

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