Terry Lundgren, CEO of Macy’s Inc. and alumnus of the University of Arizona, spoke at Eller on Wednesday, April 7. Terry Lundgren was in Tucson to visit the University and to speak at the Global Retailing Conference. I was very excited to meet Mr. Lundgren because I have been interested in the retail industry for several years and I will be beginning my career with Macy’s Inc. in the fall. As the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, Terry Lundgren brings a vast amount of experience from the retail industry and it was an honor to get to meet him and hear him speak about his experience.
The afternoon was set up in a Q & A format in which Mr. Lundgren received questions from the audience about Macy’s Inc. and his personal career. Instead of standing behind the podium, Mr. Lundgren opted to sit on a stool in the front of the room which demonstrated his relaxed demeanor. Questions from ranged from tips on starting a career to more intricate questions about Macy’s recent performance. Mr. Lundgren also told us a little about his experience at the U of A and how he switched from a Veterinary Science major to a Business major. It was very interesting to hear him describe his journey from U of A student to the CEO of Macy’s. For me, his most impactful advice was to learn as much as possible at each position in your career and to soak up everything like a sponge because once you are promoted, you cannot go back and learn it again. The career advice he gave was very applicable for all jobs, especially for new graduates starting their new career.
One of the most interesting and rewarding parts of the afternoon was to see how involved and knowledgeable Mr. Lundgren is about the every aspect of his business. Some CEO’s take a more top-level approach to business but it was very obvious that Mr. Lundgren takes a hands-on approach and is very involved in all key areas of his business. He thoroughly discussed the future of Macy’s Inc. and the international expansion into the Middle East as well the changes Macy’s has made in lieu of the recent economic downturn. Mr. Lundgren also touched on consumer behavior and how consumer’s tastes are changing and Macy’s reaction to these changes with the rollout of the My Macy’s initiative.
Overall, the day was very exciting and rewarding because I was able to learn more about my future company and meet the CEO before starting my job. Terry Lundgren was very approachable and easy to talk to which was refreshing as a young, inexperienced audience. I was honored to meet Mr. Lundgren and he was genuinely interested in learning about me and hearing what I had to say. This was an experience that I will never forget, and I am very thankful that we have these opportunities through Eller to meet influential members of the business world and make connections with Alumni. I think it very important as students that we take advantage of these opportunities and try to learn as much as possible from successful leaders in business.