“A day in retail is never the same, and that's what I love about working for Lowe's,” Dodd says.
A day for Sarah Dodd involves many aspects of retail, including the kitchen sink. The Haslam College of Business MBA alumna is the merchandising vice president of kitchens and baths for Lowe’s Companies, Inc.
“A day in retail is never the same, and that's what I love about working for Lowe's,” Dodd says. “It's extremely rewarding to work in a space that is the primary touchpoint for the customer. There is something special when you see a program come to life in our stores or online that you worked on for our customers.”
In merchandising, Dodd’s primary responsibility is to find and source products to best meet the customers’ needs.
“We typically have multiple vendor meetings a day, whether that be to see the latest innovation in a product category or to discuss our inventory position for an upcoming promotion,” she says. “Merchants also spend time working on new sets for our stores – what the signage will look like, how the products will be displayed and any assortment tweaks based on localized store needs.”
On a normal day, Dodd talks with at least one of her partners in store operations who provides firsthand customer feedback on improving their offerings.
As an MBA student, Dodd prepared for her future career by asking questions and exploring opportunities to apply knowledge from her classes.
“I participated in internships each summer during both my undergraduate and graduate programs that helped me put into practice some of the lessons that I learned in the classroom,” Dodd says. “Natural curiosity will bode well for everyone in whatever career path you choose.”
She advises current students to apply that curiosity during their time in Haslam.
“Be curious and learn as much as you can from the amazing faculty and staff,” Dodd says.
Outside of the classroom, Dodd enjoyed Saturdays in Neyland Stadium.
“I couldn't wait for Saturdays when I was an MBA student at UT,” Dodd says. “Experiencing football games at Neyland Stadium, watching the players run through the Power T and spending the day with friends cheering on the Vols is something that I will always remember.”
Dodd still enjoys cheering on the Vols with her family in Mooresville, NC. When she looks back on her time at UT, she holds not only fond memories, but also gratefulness.
“I will forever be thankful for the opportunities that UT provided me, whether that be the opportunity to change my career trajectory, the opportunity to make lifelong friends or the opportunity to experience all of the great things Knoxville has to offer,” Dodd says. “I am extremely proud to be a Tennessee Vol.”
Tom Van Dorselaer
After a 30-year career with P&G, Van Dorselaer returned to UT to teach marketing, founding the Professional Sales Forum and other successful programs to prepare the next generation of sales professionals.
Alexander credits lessons learned at Haslam as keys to her success, especially the importance of building relationships.
Mikaiel assisted the Big Orange Pantry by optimizing its supply chain to deliver emergency food assistance to students, faculty and staff.