Will the US retail giant Target figure out the Canadian market? Is Lululemon positioned to succeed worldwide?
The Schulich School of Business wants to teach future business leaders how to help both companies succeed. Next month, the school is launching one of world’s first MBA specializations in Global Retail Management to prepare students for the unprecedented leadership opportunities that exist within this fast-changing sector.
The retail sector in Canada accounts for $480 billion in sales. It features leading Canadian companies such as Canadian Tire and Loblaw Companies, and well as global competitors such as Target and Best Buy.
“Every year, the global retail industry becomes more complex, dynamic and competitive. And Canada’s retail industry needs our best cutting-edge thinking,” said Robert Kozinets, professor of marketing and founder of the new specialization. “We designed Schulich’s Global Retail Management specialization to help students become retail managers who can meet the massive challenges and opportunities of retail today.”
Globally, the retail sector is pegged at about $13 trillion. Global retail presents tremendous career opportunities for managers, as growing markets in developing nations and the rise of technological innovations continually open up and develop potential new markets to savvy retailers.
“Worldwide, the entire sector is in flux, as retailers from North America, Japan and Western Europe expand and then fiercely compete in growing markets such as India, China, Brazil, and the Middle East,” said Kozinets. “As well, technology is changing the picture. We continue to see major growth in online sales. We see more sophisticated uses of technology such as vending machines that can change prices depending on the temperature or time of day. We see cultural innovations, such as the export of Black Friday shopping hysteria to Canada. We see ubiquitous retail, such that even an airplane flight becomes a shopping mall experience. And everything is competing with everything else. Global retail may well be at a tipping point.”
To adapt to this potent mix of competition and computers, retailers are investing heavily in learning how to better leverage technology and information. The new Schulich specialization captures and conveys these evolving insights by focusing on how retail analytics, brand insights, and supply chain innovations are applied to the ongoing challenges of retail strategy.
As a result, the new specialization includes specialized courses on retail analytics and retail market strategy, alongside supply chain management. It offers a range of courses, from experience design to selling to environmental supply that will allow students to customize their educational experience in the program. Student will be able to apply insights from the specialization in a range of industries within, and related to, retailing.
With the new Global Retail Management specialization, Schulich now offers 20 MBA specializations, among the highest number offered by any business school. Global Retail Management joins a growing number of industry-specific specializations, including Health Industry Management, Real Estate and Infrastructure, Nonprofit Management and Arts & Media Management.