Gap's MBA Hiring: A Clothes Call

Candidates need to show passion, appreciation, and knowledge for the apparel retailer and its business, says recruiter Denise Mooney

Denise Mooney has been an MBA recruiter for Gap Inc. since August, 2004. Before that, she served as the program manager at the Center for Responsible Business at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. She has also worked for Bain & Co., a strategy and management consulting firm.

Gap's well-known brands include Old Navy and Banana Republic. The key to getting hired by the company lies in demonstrating retail industry knowledge, says Mooney, who recently spoke with BusinessWeek Online Reporter Jeffrey Gangemi. Here are edited excerpts of their conversation:

Q: How do you decide where to recruit?


We have chosen a few schools where we are building close recruiting relationships. We go to each of them in the fall and give a presentation describing the types of opportunities for which we're recruiting. We do most of our recruiting for full-time positions in the fall and for internships in the spring. We're fortunate to be based in the San Francisco Bay Area, where there are a lot of California-based schools with great MBA programs. We also consider great candidates from other programs, but our focus is on a few core schools.

Q: When do you offer internships?


My recruiting efforts are for MBA programs, so I would be doing recruiting for students between the first and second year, for 10 weeks. We have a summer internship for both undergraduate and MBA students. The number of internships varies by the year. Some of the primary job roles are finance and company planning, strategy, inventory optimization, store operations, marketing, merchandising, and human resources. Within those functions, there are different brands recruiting for interns. For example, we may have a finance internship for Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, and Gap.

Q: What do you look for in a potential employee?


A candidate needs to have passion, appreciation, and knowledge of Gap and the retail industry. Proven leadership experiences, proven analytic strengths, and the ability to work well in a cross-functional team is also a critical success factor. Additionally, Gap has a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility, and we look for that same commitment in the people we hire.

Q: What's it like to work at Gap?


I've had an incredibly positive experience working for the organization. I can tell you that it's a great place to work for women -- 70% of our employees are women, and we were just named to the National Association of Female Executives top 30 list. We're getting high ranks from nongovernmental organizations and the public for our social responsibility efforts.

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