If You Give a Student a Degree – The Harvard Independent


How can you set yourself up for a successful career after graduating from college? According to Harvard Business School (HBS) graduate Allie Egan, the key is to never “close any doors.” At a talk hosted by FIG., Harvard’s undergraduate fashion magazine, Egan discussed her nonlinear trajectory to becoming the CEO of the clothing line Cyntia Rowley and founder of the skincare brand Veracity. She began her path to success like many other college students: unsure of exactly what career she wanted to pursue.    

When she started her time at the University of Virginia, Egan thought she was either going to become a senator or geneticist and did not see herself exploring other academic paths. However, this soon changed when she found herself intrigued by foreign relations and decided to major in foreign affairs at the McIntire School of Commerce. Upon graduating, Egan said she wanted to do something “fun and challenging where [she] would learn a lot.” Consequently,  Egan took a position in investment banking and soon found herself captivated by consumer deals. After some time she wanted to “put her money where her mouth [was]” and become more than a financial advisor, so she started interviewing with private equity firms. Egan later took a position at L. Catterton, a private equity firm, where she worked as a consumer retail investor. During her time at the firm, Egan watched as CEOs of companies like Restoration Hardware revolutionized their business models and saw increasing growth and success.

 Energized by the idea of transforming businesses, Egan applied and was accepted to HBS. During her time at HBS, she received a general management education, where she learned the fundamentals of marketing and the ins and outs of business management. On the side, Egan worked for businesses like Alice and Olivia and Glossier, trying to improve brands by working on their social media strategy. 

After graduating from HBS, Egan was ready for a promising career. She went to work in product and digital marketing at Estee Lauder’s companies Clinique, Origins, and La Mer. While Egan enjoyed this work, she  “had a passion for smaller, high-growth businesses with visions and tangible results,” she explained to her audience. Through her work, Egan was introduced to Cynthia Rowley, a prominent American fashion designer. The two hit it off as Rowley was looking to take her eponymous business “from a traditional wholesale and licensing model to a direct consumer business with a robust website and a comprehensive digital marketing strategy and campaign,” Egan said. She was eager to become an integral part of the company, as she had found what she had been looking for in her career: a tangible end goal. Egan became the CEO of Cynthia Rowley, and helped the company build a robust surf and swim business by expanding and diversifying its inventory. 

However, during her time at the company, Egan began to experience a personal setback. For the first time in her life, her skin drastically changed as she began to experience dry and flakey patches. Despite trying countless remedies, Egan could not pinpoint the source of this debilitating change. Over three years after the onset of the issue, Egan found out, through fertility-related testing, that she was suffering from Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disease that causes an overactive thyroid and an imbalance of hormones. Egan recalled asking herself at this time, “The skin is the largest organ in the body, why aren’t we treating it better?” Unsatisfied with the existing options for skincare, Egan decided to found Veracity, which uses at-home skin tests to design specialized skincare products. These at-home skin tests detect hormone levels and provide product and lifestyle recommendations in order to re-balance hormones. Egan described her company as “scientifically clean,” and explained that she works with a colleague who has a PhD in hormone health to develop skin care products. Egan has constructed a medical advisory of nutritionists, Obgyns and more specialized medical professionals to ensure that her skin care products honor the medicine behind hormones and that the products are adaptable and personalized for all skin types. For example, when asked if she enjoys the autonomy of not having a cofounder, Egan explained that while she likes having the freedom to execute her own vision, she knows that she is “not all of her…



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