Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 37

The University of Alberta School of Retailing Consulting Group.

project-based entity where students work on various projects
within the retail industry. The group operates as a consulting firm for interested partners (typically retailers, real-estate
firms, asset management companies, and consultants) with
projects being determined through current relationships and
needs within the retail industry.
"The program is open to BA Commerce students with a
range of focuses, including marketing, accounting, supply
chain and management. Those who pass the interview process vie for one of 20 positions as a paid consultant, working
on projects like marketing/brand studies or real-estate processes," explains Emily Delveaux, the executive director of
The School of Retailing, and the person tasked with overseeing the program. "We don't work with start-ups, but rather
established businesses, like Fountain Tire, London Drugs
and the Londonderry Mall."
Delveaux works with the client to determine the scope of
the project, and then passes the project on to one of the students who serves as a managing director, to actually manage it. Delveaux continues to mentor the relationship, but
otherwise the students-the managing director and the team
of fellow consultants they 'hire' onto the project- are left in
charge of the project from start to finish.
"We are a back-end retail school, focusing on analytics,
supply chain management, consumer behavior, and marketing. We want to break the perception that retail is sales, and
show that it's in fact 90 per cent back end. This program is a
way to teach students the real world of retail, and is therefore
perfectly in keeping with our mandate," Delveaux explains.
Double benefit
PHOTO COURTESY OF UNIVERSIT Y OF ALBERTA SCHOOL OF RE TAILING

Filling a gap

Even though the program was wildly successful, Kyle Murray, the School of Retailing's Director,
believed something was missing from the curriculum, something that would better prepare students
for the challenges that lay ahead as they entered
into the retail industry.
"Three years ago, while on sabbatical, I visited a
number of retail schools in Australia and Europe.
I noted the interesting and innovative things that
they were doing, and came away with the idea of a
student consulting program. It would give students
the opportunity to work with retailers on real-world
projects that, because students would be paid for
their efforts, would have real consequences for
them," explains Murray.
The result of this brainstorming was the School
of Retailing Consulting Group, which was launched
in October of 2014.
The School of Retailing Consulting Group is a
www.retailcouncil.org/cdnretailer

Students see the value of the program as much as the clients that engage the services of the consulting group. They
see it as an invaluable teaching tool and a way of separating
themselves from other students who may one day be competing with them for jobs.
"The practical exposure is invaluable. And it's the best way
to apply what you've learned in the classroom," believes Elnur Kasumov, a member of the School of Retail Consulting
Group who graduated in June 2015 with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, Finance major with Strategic Management
and Organization minor. "As managing director, you draft
job proposals, pick consultants to work on the project based
on client needs and the skills you require, communicate with
the client and manage every aspect of the project."
Kasumov says the experience will undoubtedly serve him
well in the future.
"You learn skills applicable to every aspect of the retail industry, skills that you can't practice under real-world conditions in the classroom, from understanding what attributes
you need during the hiring process to managing a team of
diverse people to understanding the unique problems that
come with each new client."

WINTER 2016 | CANADIAN RETAILER

| 37


http://www.retailcouncil.org/cdnretailer

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016

PUBLISHER'S DESK
RETAIL CURRENTS
UNDER THE BANNER
EXPANDED OFFERING
RCC APPOINTS NEW BOARD CHAIR AND VICE-CHAIR
AT ISSUE
COFFEE, EGGS AND IKEA
CONTENT-RICH CONFERENCES INSPIRE RETAILERS IN VANCOUVER AND QUEBEC
THE SUBMISSIONS ARE IN
INDUSTRY RESEARCH
FREEDOM OF IDENTITY
TALENT SHOWS
WINNING THE WAR OF FIT
ADVERTISER'S INDEX
CONSULTING ON THE FUTURE OF RETAIL
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - ebelly1
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - ebelly2
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - cover1
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - cover2
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 3
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - PUBLISHER'S DESK
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 5
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - RETAIL CURRENTS
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 7
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - UNDER THE BANNER
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - EXPANDED OFFERING
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - RCC APPOINTS NEW BOARD CHAIR AND VICE-CHAIR
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 11
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - AT ISSUE
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - COFFEE, EGGS AND IKEA
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - CONTENT-RICH CONFERENCES INSPIRE RETAILERS IN VANCOUVER AND QUEBEC
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 15
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - THE SUBMISSIONS ARE IN
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 17
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - INDUSTRY RESEARCH
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 19
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - FREEDOM OF IDENTITY
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 21
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 22
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 23
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 24
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 25
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - TALENT SHOWS
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 27
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 28
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 29
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - WINNING THE WAR OF FIT
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 31
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 32
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 33
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - ADVERTISER'S INDEX
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 35
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - CONSULTING ON THE FUTURE OF RETAIL
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 37
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 38
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - cover3
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - cover4
Canadian Retailer - Winter 2016 - 43
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