By Sarah Stone

Wilson College alumna Meilin Walker says she won’t be able to look at the inside of a department store the same way the next time she goes shopping. 

“There’s a lot of background that goes on from the corporate side,” Walker, who now works for Macy’s, says. “When you walk into a store you don’t really think about how a product got there and what system it had to go through.”

The May 2021 graduate is participating in the Supply Chain Executive Development Program at Macy’s. During the eight-week-long, post-graduate program, she’s learning more about the back-room operations that are required to keep the retail giant running. 

“I’m basically the liaison between buyers and vendors,” Walker explains. “​​I make sure the quantities of products our buyers want to send to locations around the country make sense based on a store’s need and sales performance and adjust the units as needed.”  

If you were to talk to her four years ago, Walker wouldn’t have seen herself working for Macy’s. She wouldn’t have seen herself graduating from the Wilson College of Textiles either. When she first stepped foot on campus, Walker pursued an international studies degree and planned to attend law school. She chose to change her degree to fashion and textile management (FTM), and add a minor in business administration, after her first year at NC State. She says the crossover between business and fashion appealed to her. 

It’s that sort of interaction between the two fields that piqued her interest in working for Macy’s supply chain division. Walker took FTM 483, a course centered around supply chain management, just as the COVID-19 pandemic began to hit the United States. 

“A lot of supply chains got really disrupted, and so I think the timing of it gave a very unique perspective on the class. So from that class I was like, ‘Well, I think supply chain is super interesting,’”Walker says. “I have always liked the logistics and analytics side and seeing how everything is interconnected.”

Now a few months removed from her college education, Walker is experiencing first-hand how her time at the Wilson College set her up for success in the industry. 

“A good portion of my classes talked about sustainability within the textile industry. Just knowing the current process of how things are made and how things are delivered definitely blends into my role,” Walker says. “Since I am working with inventory, I can see the trend in types of products customers want and the dynamic relationship between the company and our vendors to fulfill customer demand”. 

Reflecting on her time at NC State, Walker has a simple piece of advice for the newest members of the Wolfpack. 

“It’s very cliche, but definitely get involved,” she says. “Talk to people that you don’t know, go to events that you like wouldn’t normally go to because that’s how you meet people and it’s a good way for you to network.”

Once she finishes her training, Walker will officially become an inventory management assistant for Macy’s in its jewelry and watches division.