HIGH POINT, N.C., April 22, 2015 – As more than 75,000 people from 100 countries flock to High Point this week for the 2015 spring High Point Market, High Point University students are gaining career experience that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
Dozens of students – from interior design to human relations majors – are working for major furniture companies this week. They are exchanging business cards, networking with potential employers, gaining unparalleled resume-boosters, and getting the inside scoop about how the home furnishings industry really works. And it’s all happening in HPU’s backyard.
Rachael Bozsik, a senior from Albany, New York, has been interning with Phillips Collection since January, and landed a full-time job with the company after graduation in May.
“I’ve been working market for four years,” said Bozsik, an entrepreneurship major and home furnishings minor. “This is why I came down to High Point. I’m interested in marketing and branding for the home furnishings industry. Working at market for four years has given me great internships and great networking contacts, and I’m going to be working here [at Phillips Collection] full-time next year on their marketing team.”
“The furniture market is one of the things that attracted me to HPU,” said student Kelsey DeWall, a senior interior design major and Long Island, New York native who is interning with Bolier & Company. “Even if you intern for a design firm, you don’t see the full picture of the industry. Here at market, you get the whole experience. It’s a great tool for experiential learning.”
Some interior design majors like senior Lauren Andonian, who has interned at the J Douglas showroom for three years now, have landed summer jobs from working market. Other students like senior Callie Deluca appreciate the practical experience it offers.
But market isn’t just for interior design or home furnishings students. HPU senior Cassie Williams is an international business major from Mason, Michigan. While interning at Bernhardt’s showroom, she worked one-on-one with international clients who came to view Bernhardt’s new lines.
HPU junior Mags Boyle, a human relations and business administration double major, decided to dive into the furniture industry because of something that Ron Wanek, founder and CEO of Ashley Furniture, said during a panel discussion at HPU last fall.
“He talked about how there’s such a need for business students in the furniture industry,” said Boyle, who has interned with Phillips Collection since August and has secured an internship with the company through May 2016. “The generation before us did not go into the furniture industry, so there’s a big leadership gap and lots of opportunities in the industry.
“I’m a business major,” Boyle continues. “Half of the people coming out of college these days are business majors. I knew I needed to find my niche, so I figured I might as well give it a shot since I’m down here in High Point in the heart of the furniture industry. I gave it a shot and fell in love with it.”