Letisha Park sits with other students from the Master of Science in Business of Fashion at RBS-Newark.

Tech professional shifts seamlessly into Business of Fashion graduate program

Letisha Park’s realization that she was destined for a career in fashion emerged at a low point. Park was living alone and without her mom for the first time, and transitioning jobs from a small startup to a global corporation in 2021. Then she suffered a severe knee injury that laid her up for months. “It was a hard time. All I could do was be still,” Park said.

Creating art, first with paints and then clothing, gave Park solace — and then inspiration. While working full time as a corporate data analyst, she launched Safe Garments, a clothing line to engender community and mental wellness. “It was in that stillness that I got all these answers,” she said.

Last September, Park enrolled in Rutgers Business School’s Master of Science in Business of Fashion (MSBF). “I felt I had had the creative part down, but what I needed to learn was the business end,” she said. “This program fills that missing link.”

“Since I was very young, I was always into fashion. I didn’t realize I could pursue it as a career,” Park said. She received the The Beverly Aisenbrey Business of Fashion Merit Fellowship, providing her with $25,000 toward tuition for the 30-credit graduate program.

An important element of her education is making connections with classmates. “There are students from everywhere, working in lots of industries,” Park said. “I’m learning so much about their experiences.”

The 27-year-old graduated in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science degree from Rutgers–Newark and NJIT in computer science with a minor in mathematics. She’d chosen the major to prepare her to work in a high-demand, well-paid field.

Born in Trinidad and raised in East Orange from the age of 3, Park received the DREAM.US scholarship for highly motivated undocumented students to attend Rutgers–Newark. She was in the select Honors Living-Learning Community, which promotes leadership skills, social justice, and community engagement. Before she started attending Rutgers, she had put herself through Essex County College for an associate degree in computer science. 

Park works full time for Citigroup as a technical project manager in its Trade, Treasury and Securities sector. She attends RBS part time, taking courses nights and on Saturdays, and is on track to graduate in May 2025.

“I love the flexibility and the opportunities that are presented to us,” she said. In the fall, Park and classmates volunteered at New York Fashion Week, setting up the runway show of designer Gita Omri. Park helped set up rooms for the runway show and was assigned to style a model who had to do multiple outfit changes in a matter of minutes.

Park took the MSBF accounting class online and Branding of Fashion at Rutgers Business School's Jersey City campus in the fall, and she’s currently taking digital marketing online. Both semesters she enrolled in the in-person Industry Leaders Seminar Series, getting face time with professionals in the field. Another important element of her education is making connections with classmates. “There are students from everywhere, working in lots of industries,” she said. “I’m learning so much about their experiences.”

Park said she feels supported in the program, especially by MSBF Program Director Tavy Ronen. “Professor Ronen has been cheering me on since day one,” Park said.

Ronen said she expects Park to create a path that will inspire other creatives with technical backgrounds. The faculty were intrigued by Park’s information technology background because of its extremely interesting applications in fashion and luxury, Ronen explained. “Tish brought a dream with her into the program,” Ronen said. “I am certain she is capable of combining her experience with the knowledge she is gaining in the program to execute her idea successfully. “

Park said she may explore working abroad at a fashion company to gain experience after earning her MSBF. Eventually, she hopes her clothing line and brand will become a full-time gig. The idea behind Safe Garments, she explained, “is to look good, feel good, to dress with the intention to have a good day.”

- Margaret McHugh

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