Scope and content
Helen Xenakis, the Internship Coordinator at FIT at the time of this interview, began as an adjunct professor in theFashion Buying and Merchandising Department (FBM) in 1988, following a 25-year career in buying. She talks about the inception of the internship program at FIT and its growth ten-fold. She sees the program as mutually beneficial for employers and students, which explains its exponential success. At the time of the interview, FIT had over 900 company sponsors including Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Made in America, major television networks, and New York-based start-ups. She discusses networking through alumni and what the internship process entails. Xenakis then describes a successful candidate for the internship program and how eligible students have a conversion rate of over 40% following the internship. She discusses the especial success of the program with international students and delves into the demographics of most interns. She mentions that she is optimistic about the future of the program and how grateful she is for her time at FIT. Finally, Xenakis discusses her education and buying career during which she worked for Kresge’s, Sears, and Bamberger’s before developing a fashion merchandising program at Rockland County BOCES, a vocational high school.