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Junior Anna Borer discovers new career path through IU internship experience

Nov. 16, 2016

Last year, apparel merchandising student Anna Borer thought she wanted to pursue a career as a retail buyer or planner. Then a unique experience in Hong Kong showed her where her true passion lies.

Anna Borer, Burberry intern

Anna Borer, IU apparel merchandising junior, interned at Burberry in Hong Kong this past summer. | PHOTO COURTESY OF ANNA BORER

Borer was one of 10 students selected to participate in the School of Art and Design’s inaugural Hong Kong Internship Program; there, she was an intern at the luxury fashion brand Burberry. After spending the summer putting together coverage reports and working with the company’s public relations team, she realized she wants to take a different direction with her career. 

“That experience was good at showing me what I am interested in. Now, I want to go into PR,” Borer said. “I realized I don’t want to do math all day, every day!” 

Borer’s Hong Kong experience wasn’t without its challenges. She had to learn their customs while also trying to be successful at her job. This made for some stressful moments, like trying to learn how to use chopsticks for the first time in front of Burberry’s vice president of marketing or learning the hard way that many employees don’t adhere to deadlines.

While Borer wants to focus her attention on PR and marketing instead of buying or planning, she is still set on being a player in the retail industry. She is specifically interested in the luxury world of Burberry, Gucci and the like. Borer’s retail background and involvement in IU’s Retail Studies Organization will be a major asset in achieving that goal.

IU's Retail Studies Organization is one of the largest student organizations on campus, providing education and leadership opportunities to students like Borer who are interested in pursuing careers in the retail industry. The group often brings speakers from big-name companies to campus for forums and discussions. Last month, the organization hosted a forum that brought leaders from Charlotte Russe, Finish Line and Burberry to campus. Borer has been involved with the organization since she was a freshman and has taken on several leadership roles.

As a sophomore, she was the director of field seminars. In that role, she orchestrated and planned two trips for members to visit retail companies in the Indianapolis and Chicago areas. This year, she has transitioned into a marketing and communications role, where she oversees the organization’s marketing efforts.

Hong Kong skyline

Borer had to adapt to another culture's customs all while trying to be successful at her job. | PHOTO COURTESY OF ANNA BORER

Borer enjoys being involved in the Retail Studies Organization because it gives her opportunities to prepare for her career. Also, being on the executive board gives her the ability to ensure all of the members are getting the best experience possible. 

“I wouldn’t have been as prepared professionally in my career without RSO,” she said. “And I wouldn’t have been as confident going out into the real world for my first internship.”

As she wraps up her first semester back at IU with a renewed focus on her goals, Borer is doing all she can to catch up with her counterparts and stand out in the PR field. Now she has her eyes set on a PR internship with another luxury brand, but this time in New York City. 

Anna Borer's participation in the School of Art and Design's internship aligns with priorities outlined in the university’s Bicentennial Strategic Plan, including a commitment to student success.

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