Kohl's Center for Retailing 
Fall 2015 Newsletter

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Letter From Jerry O'Brien
Director of the Kohl's Center for Retailing Excellence

Happy Holidays!
As our fall semester comes to an end we indeed have lots to be happy about.
Our partners have continued to be amazing.  We have had great speakers on campus, companies willing to host our Student Retail Association, and several opportunities to compete (and win) in case study competitions. 
Our faculty and staff have continued to provide the outstanding instruction and individualized attention that our students have come to expect.  Our curriculum is leading the nation in innovation with a great focus on analytics, consumer behavior and design thinking.
Our students in the retailing major continue to impress.  We have our largest ever contingent of students who have entered the major as freshman.  Our student body has increased by 40% over the last two years with no signs of slowing down.  These students have discovered early on the challenges, excitement and opportunities that await our graduates.  Additionally, the Center is serving an ever growing number of students from majors all over campus that are interested in exploring retailing as a career--Engineering, Design, Economics, Finance and Journalism...even Food Science!  It appears that the retailing bug is continuing to spread.
Our alumni continue to connect back to the Center.  They feel prepared to innovate and to lead.  They have been very willing to mentor our current students, to visit campus, and to provide insights.  The enthusiasm with which our alumni reach back to us with is verygratifying. 
Our future involves reaching a greater number and an even wider variety of students.  We have firmly established retailing as a premier opportunity for a great career.  As we continue to grow we are committed to providing all students with the best possible experiential opportunities and education.  We will continue to reach out for resources to stay in the forefront.  
We have much to be happy about.  We greatly appreciate the support we get from all of our stakeholders.  We sincerely wish for each of you a wonderful 2016!  On, Wisconsin!

MAGIC Trade Show
Soft lines trade show in Las Vegas
60,000+ industry members attend the MAGIC Trade Show, which happens twice a year in Las Vegas. MAGIC covers women's apparel, men's apparel, kid's apparel, footwear, accessories and sourcing. Suppliers, vendors and buyers come from over 120 countries to attend the show.

A group of 14 students were able to attend the largest soft lines trade show in Las Vegas this past August, led by Professor Nancy Murray.
They got a tour of the Macy's Mens store at Fashion Show Mall, attended a private trend seminar presented by The Doneger Group to their biggest clients, visited vendors from different areas of retail, listened to a seminar presented by Fashion Snoops on women's Fall/Winter '16/'17 trends, went to a presentation by David Wolfe of The Doneger Group on the big picture of Spring '16, shadowed buyers from Kohl's as they attended vendor meetings, and got a private presentation from Durand Gulon- Macy's Fashion Director for Men's. The group stayed at the MGM Grand hotel and went to the Cirque de Soleil Ka show, too!

Career Ecology
Who's a human ecologist? What do they do? How do they get great jobs?
Students were able to find the answers to these questions and activate their career at Career Ecology. Successful alumni were on hand to help them build leadership abilities, practice professional skills, and find their place in the exciting world of human ecology. This event brought together almost 200 students and 30 alumni!
The event began with an interactive activity where students and alumni created posters to describe what they believe a human ecologist is. The activity was followed by a discussion on the topic and some snacks and networking!

Shop.org Digital Summit
National Retail Federation
More than 5,000 professionals attended the summit in Philadelphia, PA this year. The students who attend are able to network with working professionals from across the industry. This year, the Kohl's Center for Retailing Excellence sent Marta Wangard and Kendra Trost to attend the summit. The students attended the Student Summit, which  is a daylong event that includes keynote speakers from major retail companies, and other activities that allow the students to interact with one another and share their passions regarding e-commerce. One of the most memorable activities for the students was the "speed networking" hour, where retail professionals would receive a topic to discuss and share their thoughts with several students for a few minutes before moving on to a new group of students. Some other activities included a speaker on "Cool Jobs in Retail You Never Knew Existed" and a career fair that offered students the opportunity to speak with 20 well-known retail employers. If time permitted, there was also the opportunity to attend the full length Digital Summit, which includes more speakers and a huge expo hall displaying all of the innovative technology that helps make e-commerce run the way it does. 

Below is a quote from Marta Wangard, a senior retailing student who attend the summit:
"This past October, I was given the opportunity to attend the 2015 Shop.org Student Summit in Philadelphia as a Ray Greenly Scholarship Semi-Finalist. Having attended the Summit a year before in Seattle, I was pretty ecstatic about what this year's Summit would bring to the table. The week started out with a pre-summit banquet and dinner for all Ray Greenly Scholarship Semi-Finalists, which included 25 students from across the nation, and 25 retail professionals from companies such as Tory Burch, REI, Kohl's, Nordstrom, Facebook Retail, and Macy's. This was an amazing opportunity to network and discuss current trends in the retail industry in a more casual and personal environment."

Student Retail Association
Building Future Leaders of the Retail Industry 
The Student Retail Association   provides an environment  of  activities that enables members to explore many dimensions of retailing and gain an "on-the-job" perspective of the ever-changing retail world. The association strives to provide members with opportunities to develop leadership skills, interact with students with common interests as well as hear from and network with professionals in the retail industry. This semester SRA had a busy schedule filled with fun and beneficial events! 

Professional Events 
SRA kicked off the semester with a presentation from Macy's. Students learned about different career paths available and got some more information on the company itself. Milwaukee Tool led an info session on how to best present yourself on LinkedIn. Members were able to meet and network with the founders of Life is Good at an event they held at their store on State Street! Maurice's paid the club a visit to give some great information regarding the company and their internship and job opportunities. The November monthly meeting included a great info session from Nordstrom! A Kate Spade employee was able to host an info session for the club giving some insights to those who want to work in-store.
SRA hosted different development events throughout the semester including Excel and Adobe classes!

Community Service, Fundraising, and Social Events 
The first community service event was held at Slow Food UW where a gr oup of 4 students volunteering in their preparation for an evening dinner. The next community service event was at the Second Harvest Food Bank where a group attended to help sort through donations. SRA hosted a food drive for the Salvation Army and collected donations for the homeless center Porchlight. In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, members of SRA made their way to the Goodman Center to hand out Thanksgiving baskets to those who cannot afford to celebrate the holiday.
The first fundraising event of the year was a Buffalo Wild Wings fundraiser and was followed by a fundraiser at Chipotle, Mia Za's, and a partnership with Eat Street! 
To kickoff the year, SRA hosted an ice cream social to get to know some of the new members of the club. A group of students had a weekend getaway to the Wisconsin Dells in October. Later in the month, a group of students wanted to have a bonfire to unwind at the end of the week, but were rained out. Luckily, one of SRA's member's had a s'mores maker at home so the students could still enjoy them! A group of SRA members gathered to watch a great documentary called "Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's" to learn more about this iconic department store. One of the last social events of the semester was a night out at the Comedy Club where students could hang out and enjoy some local comedians. The semester ended with a ugly sweater contest and some holiday cookie decorating!

Chicago Industry Trip
A group of 28 students were picked to go on the annual Chicago Industry trip this year! The students met with Walgreen's e-commerce headquarters and got to tour their flagship store, visited Trunk Club and learned about the stylist role and what it is like to come from Madison to a big city, and got a tour of the Burberry flagship store and learned about the rich history of the company. The group had a fun dinner at Giordano's and spent the night in Chicago to enjoy all the shopping that the city has to offer before heading back to Madison.

New York Trip
This January 13-18, SRA and the Center for Retailing Excellence will be taking a group of 30 students to New York where they will attend the National Retail Federation Big Show! This includes the Student Program where students will attend a career fair and professional development seminars. This is an opportunity for students to seek internship and job opportunities that may not be as readily available on campus, and meet with students from across the country interested in retail. SRA will also be visiting the Lands' End New York office, Maurice's/Ascena's New York Office, Kohl's Design Office, and Macy's corporate office above the Harold Square store. Students will hear about opportunities with all of these different companies, as well as what it's like living and working in New York. Many students aspire to work in New York, and SRA's trip gives them a taste of life working in retail in the Big Apple.

Consumer Strategy and Evaluation
Design Thinking Course
Consumer Strategy and Evaluation is a course taught by retailing Professor Dee Warmath that focuses on the design thinking process. This fall, the class has 8 different student teams working on projects. The projects included working with a group of mechanical engineering students, marketing classes for the Office of the Registrar, making brain safety a sexy topic, putting on trunk shows for Wisconsin Without Boarders, increasing usage of Professor Nancy Wong's My Earth app, menu engineering for the Badger Market, creating a new Badger Bundle for the Badger Market, and increasing sales in the Robin's Nest Cafe.
Design thinking is an innovative way of working with clients by gaining empathy and finding the right question to answer.

John Zeratsky, a design parter for Google Ventures and a SoHE alum, was able to attend the class and give a lecture on some of Google Ventures' processes and some projects he has worked on. He was able to go around to each group in the class and give some personalized advice on their projects!

Lands' End Design Challenge
Design Studies Challenge- Fall 2015
Each semester, a group of Design Studies students partake in the Lands' End Design Challenge. The students are challenged to create a new outerwear style. The students competing this fall were Madeline Straus, Olivia Bourgeois, Andie Gechtman, Paige Goodings, Erica Hess, Keria Hockers, Yaya Houston, Allison Kelsey, Jingjing Li, Kate Nelsen, Vanali Phanthavong, and Erin Schulenberg. Paige, Keria, Andie, and Erin were the challenge winners and from that group, Andie took first place. Winning students are awarded academic scholarships. Congratulations to Andie!

Experience China
Product Development Course- Spring 2016
Through partnerships with other universities, students live on campus in Hangzhou China for a full semester.  Students are connected with Chinese host buddies and host families becoming fully immersed in learning and understanding the Chinese culture and consumer.  Courses are taught in a module format allowing for intensive learning and field trips.  The Consumer Science course "Product Development Strategies in Retailing" is taught by professor Nancy Murray for the UW students in China.  During this course, students visit factories and other corporate offices gaining a deeper understanding of the full supply chain in product development. 

Case Competitions  and Scholarships
The Center for Retailing offers students many opportunities for case competitions and scholarship to show off their knowledge and apply their class work to real industry scenarios. This semester there were many students who were able to excel in these national case competitions! 

YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund
This year, the Kohl's Center for Retailing Excellence put eight students up to compete for the Fashion Scholarship Fund. This year, the prompt is based off of the subscription service Birchbox. Winners of the scholarship are awarded a trip to New York City for the foundation gala, a $5,000 scholarship, and guaranteed internship placement. Winners were selected by a group of executives from companies that sponsor the scholarship. This year the winning students are Katelyn Howard, Brian Lucksinger, Tayler Nowak, Darouny Phouybanhdyt, and Summer Stewart. Congratulations to these students!

YMA Geoffrey Beene Scholarship
This year the University of Wisconsin-Madison was able to nominate one student to compete in the Geoffrey Beene case competition and retailing student Megan Donovan was selected to compete. The prompt for her case study was based off of 3D printing in the fashion industry. She made it as one of the top 8 applicants and will receive a travel scholarship to New York City in January to give a presentation on her project to a board of executives. She will find out at the annual YMA gala if she is one of the top 4 students to receive a scholarship for $30,000! Congratulations and good luck to Megan!

National Retail Federation Next Generation Scholarship
The Next Generation Scholarship is the pinnacle achievement for students at NRF University Member schools who are currently pursuing retail careers or majors relevant to retail; students who have demonstrated they're prepared to be future leaders and make an impact in the retail industry. This years prompt asks for an essay regarding a favorite retail experience, to create a timeline depicting major changes in the retail industry, and one final essay on understanding the retail industry. Megan Donovan and Jessie Wardlow were picked to represent the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Both students received travel scholarships to New York for Retail's BIG Show and Megan was selected to be in the top 25 semi-finalists and will attend the NRF Foundation Gala in New York! Congratulations to Megan and Jessie!

National Retail Federation Ray Greenly Scholarship
The Ray Greenly Scholarship is awarded to students with a creative, entrepreneurial spirit who can find innovative ways to connect retail customers to brands and products. The case study project has two components- written and visual. Students were asked to write an essay describing how they would change an existing retailers omnichannel strategy and make a visual component to support their ideas.
Retailing student Marta Wangard was able to make it to the top 25 for her ideas! She received a travel scholarship to attend the Shop.Org Digital Summit in Philadelphia, PA

Retail Federation Rising Star Scholarship
The Rising Star scholarship was created to teach college freshmen and sophomores about the variety of career opportunities available in the retail industry, and to encourage them to attend the NRF Foundation Student Programs early in their academic careers. The Kohl's Center for Retailing Excellence was able to nominate one student to receive a travel scholarship to attend the Shop.org Digital Summit in October 2015 and one student to receive a scholarship and attend Retail's BIG Show Student Program in January 2016. Retailing sophomore Kendra Trost was picked to attend the Shop.org Digital Summit and Jaylin Carlson was picked to attend Retail's BIG Show. Congratulations to Kendra and Jaylin!

National Retail Federation Student Ambassador
Each NRF member school has the ability to nominate a Student Ambassador. The Kohl's Center for Retailing Excellence selected  Darouny Phouybanhdyt to represent UW-Madison. The Student Ambassador is responsible for building a presence of the NRF on campus and to connect the NRF to the top student talent on their campus. Darouny is receiving a $1,500 travel scholarship to attend Retail's BIG Show in January 2016 for being a successful ambassador on campus. Congratulations to Darouny!  

National Retail Federation Student Challenge
The Student Challenge is a business-case competition for NRF Student Association members to highlight their creativity and business acumen to retail executives. This year, the University of Wisconsin-Madison nominated a team made up of four students to compete- Victoria Fok, Nicole Servias, David Kim, and Lexi Rose Van Camp. The team made it to the top 5! Congratulations to these students!

Roundy's Case Study
This prompt is to challenge a team to develop campaigns that would fit underneath the "Wisconsin Proud" idea to speak in a context millennials would relate to and that will be relevant to make them engage with a call to action in a way Roundy's can measure and do so in a sustainable manner. This years team is made up of 4 students- Nick Sheahan, Jaylin Carlson, Zoya Logina, and Casey Jahn. Congratulations and good luck to these students!
Faculty Spotlight 
Nancy Murray
Professor, Academic Director- Kohl's Center for Retailing Excellence

Nancy Murray, Professor of Consumer Science, is on her second year teaching at the University of Wisconsin. She instructs many of the core retailing courses including Intro to Retailing, Retail Financial Analysis, and coordinates the Consumer Science internship course. She also teaches retailing elective courses including the Global Consumer and Product Development Strategies. Professor Murray leads many experiential learning opportunities including taking students through Europe to trend track and trend forecast and the MAGIC Tradeshow in Las Vegas. In addition to teaching the Product Development Strategies course on campus, she is also the instructor for the students taking the course in China.

Student Spotlights
Megan Donovan
Bachelor of Science in Retailing and Consumer Behavior with a certificate in  Entrepreneurship
Coming to UW-Madison three and a half years ago, I was unsure what I wanted to get my degree in. Initially, I was on the pre-business track and while I was enjoying it, I couldn't help but explore other options on campus. I found the Retailing program in the School of Human Ecology and from my first class, I knew I found the perfect place for me. I  know that I would not have had the same experience on campus had I never gotten involved with the Center. I have been involved in things that I never thought would be possible for me. I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend numerous experiential learning trips with my professors which lead me all over Europe, to Las Vegas, and to New York City. I have been able to compete in case competitions for the Fashion Scholarship Fund and the National Retail Federation. I have had the opportunity to be a teaching assistant for a retailing course. The Center has opened my eyes to so many amazing different opportunities and has challenged me to be my absolute best. The resources, guidance, and support that is available to students through the Center from Jerry O'Brien and Angie Badura are second to none. Because of the experiences I have had with the Center and the Retailing program, I am confident that I will be able to succeed in the retailing industry after I graduate.

Brian Lucksinger
Bachelor of Business Administration, Marketing and Management with a focus in Entrepreneurship
As I finish my third semester at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I am overjoyed about the education and opportunities that I was fortunate enough to experience early on in my college career. I entered the university knowing I wanted to major in business, but with no idea what direction I wanted to take. I stumbled upon the Student Retail Association at the student organization fair and decided to explore what retail had to offer. After the first month of being part of the organization I knew it was my perfect fit. I spent my freshman year traveling to many places such as Chicago, Las Vegas, and New York to gain industry exposure. Receiving insights from so many industry professionals at such an early stage in my college career has set me up to take advantage of everything that college has to offer. I entered my second year of college as the Vice President of the Student Retail Association with many new responsibilities and opportunities to thrive. With the help of the Center for Retailing, specifically Jerry O'Brien and Angie Badura, I feel like I am on track to maximize my college experience. As a sophomore I am fortunate to have such a great relationship with the Center for Retailing and all the resources it has to offer. I go out of my way to encourage my peers to get involved with the Student Retail Association and the resources through the Center. Whether it be career planning, experiential learning, or academics, I immediately turn to the center for assistance because I know they will do anything to make sure that I succeed. I am confident in where I stand in with my academics and am ecstatic about entering the retail industry to see where it takes me.

Retail Leadership Symposium


Thank you to the following companies for presenting in the Retail Leadership Symposium during the Fall 2015 semester. Your presence on campus and in the classroom benefit our program, and most importantly, our students and their futures in the retail industry! 




Trunk Club


Colony Brands

Lands' End


Milwaukee Tool


American Girl




Thank you again to all the individuals and companies--you are what makes our program great! 



All Ways Forward
Help us change the world
All Ways Forward is UW's newest giving campaign.

From pioneering the field of bone marrow transplant to changing how the nation takes its vitamins to transforming Bascom Hill into a habitat for flocks of flamingoes, we've expanded the definition of possible in all directions. And that's just in our first 167 years. Now we're asking everyone who supports UW-Madison to help continue to make our university the home of innovation and a force for positive change in the lives of people everywhere.

One of the featured initiatives for this campaign was born in the School of Human Ecology- The 4W Initiative.The 4W Initiative (which stands for Advancing Women's Well-being in Wisconsin and the World) gets to the heart of what SoHE stands for. It's a special application of the Wisconsin Idea, aiming to improve the lives and health of women across the state and around the globe.

Thank you to all of our amazing Partners!





Kohl's Center for Retailing Excellence