When Nicholas Maschari (BSJ, 2005) graduated with a degree in public relations, he had the world in front of him. Days later, he was on his way to Hong Kong.
Maschari says that throughout his college career, he always was pursuing international opportunities. During his sophomore year, he studied abroad in England, working in retail stores and immersing himself in the culture around him. And just prior to graduation, he went on a trip to Beijing, China, with the College of Business & Economics.
“I didn’t find myself that far out of my comfort zone on how to communicate with a new market,” said Maschari.
After Beijing, Maschari says that he “caught the Asia bug.” A friend’s father held a senior leadership position with Duty Free Shopping, Ltd., in Hong Kong. Maschari made the contact and sent a resume. By the end of the interview, the offer was on the table and the papers had been signed.
“I hopped on a plane and went,” said Maschari. “I found myself saying, ‘What just happened?’”
Maschari’s company, Duty Free Shopping, Ltd., or DFS, is part of the luxury goods and duty free shopping industry. Since its inception in 1960, DFS has become associated with such brands as Ralph Lauren, Coach, Gucci, Prada, Salfatore Ferragamo and Fendi.
Maschari is a manager of business development and one of six people working to expand the company geographically. DFS is currently in Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, Thailand and China. DFS works with cruise lines, luxury train lines and border crossings to provide duty free shopping to tourists and travelers.
Maschari also plays a large role in researching and assessing new company locations and works closely with real estate developers to scope out areas to build boutiques and duty free shops. In addition, he works closely with local governments to identify ways in which DFS can benefit local communities.
After nearly three years abroad, Maschari remains happy with his decision.
“I have never once regretted [coming to Hong Kong],” said Maschari. “Many people think back and wonder how things could have played out differently – not me.”