Mai Nozoe, BS '02
Mai Nozoe never dreamed she would be the creative services director at Michael Kors, Inc. before she turned 30. “I just knew that I wanted to work on the business side of a creative industry,”
she said. When she enrolled in the undergraduate program, Nozoe decided to focus on international business and marketing. “A business degree is pragmatic for all career paths,” she declared. “It’s not just for those who have a desire to work in finance.”
While still a student, Nozoe kicked off her career in advertising through internships in the retail industry. At 19, she accepted a summer internship at Sony Music’s in-house advertising agency and then worked in the retail branch of Coach on 57th Street in New York City. Nozoe also spent time working at companies such as Nars Cosmetics and the global advertising agency Foote Cone & Belding, now DRAFTFCB. “Stern opened a lot of doors for me,” she said. “It’s the type of school where you can sit next to the future head of marketing at a company like Prada.” Nozoe’s experience as a retail salesperson shaped her interest in branding. “I was able to interact with consumers and see firsthand how the shopper responded to the marketing messages being created,” she said. Given Stern’s access to leading industries in New York City, she felt that she was offered a seamless transition into her career. “Students at Stern are able to work in fashion and other nonconventional careers,” Nozoe said. “They can pursue a nontraditional business role and be confident that they will be successful.”
In her current position, Nozoe is responsible for all in-house advertising and branding for Michael Kors, ranging from print magazines, billboards, and other outdoor media, to invitations to charity and retail store events. She explained that at Michael Kors the overall brand strategy is to use images and products that allow the brand to speak for itself. Over the next three years, the company will strengthen its position throughout the Middle East and Asia. “It’s an exciting time, and I’m looking forward to the opportunities and challenges that we will face as we adapt our brand to different cultural markets,” Nozoe said.
Finding a profession that suits one’s talents and interests is a very personal quest, she observed. “My parents disagreed with my career choice after graduation,” she remembered. “It’s incredibly important to re-evaluate the traditional role of a career and what your passions are, because if you follow your heart, you'll end up where you want to be without regrets. It’s important to take the time as a student to make sure what you want ‘fits.’”