Technology improvements are changing every part of retail, from advanced data mining for trend forecasting to managing remote teams. This retail revolution was the theme of the 2020 Retailing Summit, which took place virtually for the first time. In October 2021, the CRS flagship event returned to Dallas for two days of networking and idea exchange.
As retail shifted in response to the pandemic, so did retail education. Nichole Martin ’22 said she had a rich experience as an M.B. Zale Leadership Scholar during the last academic year, despite COVID challenges. Speakers, networking and internships were virtual, which offered an unexpected bonus: Students had access to more resources due to the ease of video conferencing. Martin also completed a virtual corporate merchandising internship with Dick’s Sporting Goods this summer and submitted a case study for the National Retail Foundation Next Generation Scholarship, for which she is a semifinalist.
Mays’ One Stop Shop
Martin, a supply chain management major with a passion for retail, said the CRS is a hidden gem that offers personalized attention and unparalleled resources to the approximately 100 students who work with the center in various settings. “There are so many opportunities,” she explained, from the Student Retailing Association to experiential learning trips. “Students in any college with interests in retail can get connected.”
Through the tumultuous pandemic period, students and faculty unpacked the retail world in real-time in classroom discussion. From face masks to toilet paper, retailers had to adjust to meet supply and demand challenges rapidly—just as educators had to be nimble to provide quality education through the crisis. “It was the most interesting real-life case study,” Martin added.
Closing the Deal
Mays Business School is currently campaigning to secure additional, sustainable funding for the CRS to increase rankings and attract more students to retail. Endowed gifts during this effort can provide faculty support, improve curriculum and lab spaces, expand the Retailing Summit annual event and grow industry research opportunities.
“Our ambition is to remain the leader in retail education and produce the highest caliber graduates,” Benedict concluded.
To learn how you can support the Center for Retailing Studies, contact Stephen Cisneros '05, assistant vice president for development, at the bottom of this page.