11/21/2014 12:41:42 PM

Student Perspective: Career Advice from J. Crew COO

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Ten Siena students representing marketing, management and English majors met J. Crew Chief Operating Officer Jim Scully ’87 for lunch and some food for thought about career and work life on April 25. They spoke with Scully, who majored in English at Siena, about career preparation, interviewing and balancing work with a personal life. Marketing majors Ali Bullis ’15, Sarah Burr ’15 and Angela Perazone ’16 share their reflections below.

Sarah Burr ’15

"When Jim Scully walked into the room, there was a definite presence about him. Casual yet confident, he shook everyone’s hand making us all feel immediately welcomed. Mr. Scully started by recalling his Siena experience, referring back to where he lived on campus and sharing fond memories. He discussed post-graduation, when he joined the U.S. Army and worked his way up in financial organizations. He stressed the importance of international business; recently, J.Crew expanded to Europe and China and he discussed how the marketing strategies of the company changes when on an international scale.

The biggest piece of advice Mr. Scully gave was the top two characteristics a potential employee should have. The first, leadership, was fairly obvious. However, he then stressed the importance of curiosity. Scully said that when looking for an employee, if there isn’t curiosity for more knowledge, the employee is not worth hiring. It was a great opportunity to hear someone share their success story. It was clear that Jim Scully was very personable and hardworking, and listening to him was a great way to learn about what it takes to be successful."

Angela Perazone ’16

"Sitting at the table with Jim Scully and listening to his experiences as the COO of J. Crew was fascinating. It was as if I had a glimpse behind the curtain, hearing all about J. Crew’s new global ventures and learning what he was planning to do next. He’s one of the leaders at a prominent American fashion company, someone I was honored to meet. From traveling to cities like London and Hong Kong, to discussing what city they planned on entering next, Jim Scully’s job sounded so glamorous.

He was very helpful in terms of giving advice. Someone asked him how he manages to balance it all, the job and spending time with family. He didn’t try to give us an unrealistic answer, or just reply with a short, blunt statement. He gave us his honest opinion that he really doesn’t know how and it’s a constant learning experience; you just have to deal with things as they come.

He was also a great help when he discussed what he looks for in potential employees and their resumes. The advice he gave was very useful for me since I’m at the point in my life where I’m applying for internships and eventually, a job. The overall experience was amazing. Jim Scully was such a welcoming, knowledgeable man and it was an honor to be able to spend lunch with him."

Ali Bullis ’15

"If there is one word I had to choose to describe Jim Scully, it would be inspiring. Jim built his success around the core tenets of sheer hard work, and finding something you are passionate for and pursuing it until it brings you to your ultimate goal. Listening to him relay his journey was so interesting. It was very reassuring to hear that he never foresaw himself as the COO of a major international retailer, yet he is so happy with where he ended up. He discussed how he manages such a demanding professional role with his personal and family life, which was very helpful to me, as this is a concern of mine as I begin to consider my future.

Lastly, his advice on interviewing, differentiating yourself and appealing to an employer was advice that I’d never really heard before. It was refreshing and practical advice that I will definitely put to use as I search for internships and jobs."


Contact: Ken Jubie
Contact E-mail: communications@siena.edu

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