Retail Management joins Whitman School
Retail Management joins Whitman SchoolJuly 07, 2006Amy Schmitzaemehrin@syr.edu
Today, positions in retail are increasingly professional, with companies instituting fast-track executive opportunities and developing a broader range of management expertise to capitalize on the opportunities offered by 21st century technology. E-commerce, product-service bundling and networked solutions are all recent innovations in retail that have led to increased sales and a flourishing industry. Consumers in the United States are now purchasing some $3.8 trillion worth of goods annually and many specialty categories within the retail industry are booming, including clothing, shoe and jewelry stores, food and beverage retailers and health and personal care retailers.
The Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University has taken note of these developments.
In fall 2006, Whitman will accept its first cohort of retail management majors as part of the multi-phased plan that will move SU’s well-respected Retail Management Program from the College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) into the Whitman School’s Department of Marketing. By spring 2010, all retail management students at SU will be earning their degrees from the Whitman School.
“Moving from the College of Visual and Performing Arts made sense for the retail management program,” says Linda Cushman, associate professor of retail management. “For many years the program has offered a solid foundation of business courses, and the move to Whitman will provide the opportunity to strengthen the students’ theoretical and practical business knowledge and skills, preparing them for executive careers in the retail industry. In addition, this move will strengthen the visibility and national recognition of the Whitman School, placing it among the most highly recruited schools by many of the nation’s foremost retailers.”
Integrating the retail management program into the Whitman School is in keeping with Dean Mel Stith’s mission to return the school to its roots in “idea innovation.” Stith has called for Whitman to create new markets in management education and do business where there are few or no competitors. Few business schools across the country have embraced retail management in this way.
“As the business world grows increasingly more global, we’re finding it crucial for students to have a diverse set of skills to be successful,” says Frances Gaither Tucker, chair of the marketing department. “With the addition of retail management, we are ensuring our students will be more competitive in the marketplace. Furthermore, retail management is a perfect complement to the supply chain management and marketing courses that are already offered in the marketing department at Whitman. Our graduates will have a unique understanding of the perspectives of consumers, intermediaries and manufacturers.”
Whitman retail students will also have unprecedented support from an illustrious industry advisory board. The retail management program brings with it too Whitman strong industry connections, including relationships with senior executives from Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Donna Karan, Ann Taylor, Crate and Barrel and New York & Co.
“The program has traditionally been very hands-on and very respected in the industry, due in part to the leadership of Linda Cushman and Amanda Nicholson,” says Clint Tankersley, senior associate dean of the Whitman School. “Their expertise and dedication have sustained the retail program through various changes over the years, transforming it into an outstanding, competitive program that prepares students for exceptionally strong careers in the retail industry.”
With the addition of retail management to Whitman, the department now includes three distinct but interconnected areas: brand and product management, supply chain management and retail management. As a result, Whitman students will now enjoy exceptional opportunities to understand the inextricable connections between the needs and perspectives of consumers, intermediaries and manufacturers.
The Retail Management Program in the Whitman School prepares students for careers as buyers, store managers, apparel product developers and sales and marketing representatives. This distinctive program offers:
- a general business core coupled with professional coursework
- a thorough understanding of the evolution of the domestic and global retail marketplace and its integral connections from manufacturing and distribution channels through to the ultimate consumer
- extensive supervised internships
- strong industry partnerships
- a high level of faculty involvement in individual student development