Parsons’ MPS in Fashion Management Program Connects Students with Mentors for Impactful Results
Jessica Jones, spent the first part of her career in advertising, where she worked for clients and partners including McDonald’s, Procter & Gamble, National Football League, and the Olympics. During the summer of 2018, Jones decided to transition to fashion marketing, where she secured a role at global Swedish retailer H&M, where she oversees marketing for the kids business in the United States.
Jones is also currently an MPS Fashion Management student in the School of Fashion at Parsons School of Design, which she enrolled in because of her desire to gain critical skills after switching careers. She will graduate in May.
“The most thought-provoking part of the program has been the dynamic leaders that have come in to speak, including former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts,” shares Jones. “The invaluable resources provided on a daily basis also include mentoring sessions, company visits, and a diverse curriculum, which has made the entire experience outstanding.”
Program Director Keanan Duffty created the mentorship component of the program in order to provide students with direct access to industry leaders who can share insightful business practices, new trends, and other valuable lessons.
“Mentors provide a supportive and advisory role, giving guidance which enables MPS-FM students to learn how to advance both educationally and professionally,” says Duffty. “Students also focus on key issues facing the fashion industry today, which includes health and safety, diversity and inclusivity, and an ethical and sustainable approach to design.”
Jones matched with mentor Kay Unger, Fashion Design ‘68, current Chair of the Board of Governors at Parsons, and a Trustee of The New School. Unger is a tireless advocate for Parsons, and with more than 40 years in the fashion industry, she is a powerful mentor as well.
“Kay has the most infectious personality, and a selfless mindset when it comes to knowledge sharing,” says Jones. “The best part of having Kay as my mentor is the reassurance that I will get to where I need to go with her by my side. Her guidance is solid and her passion is unmatched.”
While the MPS students are busy learning from their mentors, they are also teaching them as well. Unger notes that Jones has taught her about brands she’d never heard of, and that it’s been inspiring to see how much work Jones puts into classes, her full-time job, and her aspiring luxury hosiery brand. Unger has also been able to teach Jones about topics including intellectual property, how to reach your brand’s target customer, and more.
“Everybody needs a mentor because they help you in every part of your life,” says Unger. “They can tell you what the good things are to do and what the bad things are – and how to recover from them. Sharing my information with Jessica, even in this modern world of doing business differently, has been a powerful experience.”
The mentorship component of the MPS Fashion Management degree highlights The New School’s approach to education and entrepreneurship, where students across a variety of programs regularly interact with industry leaders. Acclaimed theater group Frantic Assembly recently worked with students in School of Drama on workshop performances, while students from across the College of Performing Arts regularly learn from the Philip Glass Ensemble thanks to the university’s Philip Glass Institute.
Jones is already applying many of the case studies she’s researched in class to her current role, where she’s passionate about creating a positive impact on children’s lives. She is also grateful to the Parsons community for their support, hope, and courage during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Parsons has demonstrated its ability to quickly adapt to crisis situations, and in this case, by seamlessly transitioning classes online in order to continue our education,” says Jones. “I even had a mentoring session with my mentor, as this is the perfect time to buckle down and put my written and verbalized goals into action.”