Category Archives: Retail

Got a New Product? Take It to the Hog Pen!

“How do we connect students to industry?”

John Rippl, vice president of IRI, a leading provider in market and shopper information data, and Claudia Mobley, director of Center for Retailing Excellence at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, posed that simple question. Combining industry experience with a student-focused need, Category Management Topics, marketing class 3653, was born.

Continue reading Got a New Product? Take It to the Hog Pen!

SHOP Conference Focuses on Creativity and Design

Industry leaders interested in understanding, designing and optimizing shopper experiences gathered at the Sam M. Walton College of Business for a 1 day conference on Thursday, May 15th.

The day-long event featured speakers and panels that consist of today’s most respected digital authorities and marketing connoisseurs.

Continue reading SHOP Conference Focuses on Creativity and Design

EPIC Spotlight: Terrance Boyd

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“The faculty and staff are people with experiences who can tell you, ‘This is how you do it in the real world.’ ”

When Terrance Boyd was a freshman, he was like many University of Arkansas students starting college careers. He had to adjust to a new town – one different from his native Pine Bluff – and to newfound independence. To help ease the transition, he participated in the Connections Mentoring Program, offered through the university’s Multicultural Center. “It’s how I met a lot of the people I still keep in contact with,” he says.

In the program, freshmen are paired with upperclassmen, who serve as mentors. Moved by the experience, Terrance decided to continue his participation in Connections, as a mentor and now as president.

He says he found mentoring so rewarding that he became a counselor for the Business Leadership Academy, which is designed to create awareness of retail industry careers. The 13-day summer residential program for freshmen is sponsored by the Center for Retailing Excellence and the Office of Diversity Programs, both outreach centers at the Sam M. Walton College of Business. Boyd says he immediately noticed something when he saw all of those fresh faces. “They grouped up like they had been friends for years,” he says.

Terrance says it was family that got him interested in the University of Arkansas and the Walton College. He says he used to hear stories from his older sister, Whitnee Boyd, about how much she enjoyed attending the university. Her stories of campus life and programs made a lasting impression.

“I would always see things she would do,” he says. “She’s always been a spearhead and trail blazer.”

Now, Terrance is contemplating which trails he will blaze.

Majoring in accounting with a minor in both Spanish and retail, Terrance says he’s keeping an open mind as to what the future holds. He says he likes the idea of working for Walmart as a buyer, perhaps, or a product manager at the Colgate-Palmolive Co. Yet, he wouldn’t rule out going to graduate school or using his Spanish-speaking skills to work with Northwest Arkansas’ Hispanic population.

Then there’s auditing, which he says also fascinates him. “You have to be ethical,” he says. “You have to be alert.”

Terrance says the person who first mentored him in the Connections program now plays a significant role in his day-to-day college activities: they’re fraternity brothers in Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, where Terrance serves as keeper of the records.

His mentoring experiences also led to something else: taking on leadership roles. He serves as vice president of the university’s chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants. He says the group recently went to a conference in Austin, Texas, to learn career development skills while, on the home front, sponsoring seminars on resume-building and professional etiquette. It also does community service projects, such as participating in Make a Difference Day, he says.

Terrance also is a Walton College Student Ambassador. As a student ambassador he gives Walton College tours to prospective university students.

While he’s gaining his leadership skills, he says he continues to look up to the leaders at the Walton College, who continue to share their knowledge and inspire.

“The faculty and staff are people with experiences who can tell you, ‘This is how you do it in the real world,’” he says.

EPIC Spotlight: Qili “Lily” Jin

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“My philosophy is to challenge your limits. You’ll never know how successful you’ll be.”

This part of her visit to China wasn’t in the study abroad curriculum. But it was something Qili “Lily” Jin felt she had to do. Only days before, she was in Hong Kong, networking with the country’s business leaders. Now, she was in a remote village, sleeping on a mat on a classroom’s floor, waiting to teach English to preschoolers.

To get to the village of Fenghuang in the Chinese province of Hunan was a 12-hour train ride followed by a three-hour commute. Then, she hopped in a minivan and rode for an hour. The last leg to her destination involved a two-hour hike through the mountains on a path that wasn’t always easy to see.

The country is quite familiar to Lily. She was born in China and lived there until she was 13. Last summer, however, she wanted to see her native country through the eyes of an outsider while also making a contribution. She first did a Sam M. Walton College of Business study abroad program in China with professors John Aloysius and Gary Peters. Then she chose to stay in the country to teach young students through the Impact Abroad program. “It made me appreciate seeing the country as a whole,” she says.

It also made her realize she’s just beginning to make a difference in the world. “I always ask myself, what’s next?” she says. “How can I do more?”

Lily is a junior majoring in accounting with a minor in economics and retail who graduated from high school in Round Rock, Texas, a suburb of Austin. She says her parents encouraged her to consider business as a career – a suggestion she gleefully took. She tested the waters in high school by participating in DECA, an organization that helps prepare high school and college students for the business world.

She considered a number of universities in Texas and visited the University of Arkansas three times, where she found the Walton Honors program to be especially welcoming.

Before entering the Walton College as a freshman, she enrolled in the college’s Business Leadership Academy, a residential program that introduces students to career choices in retail and other opportunities available to business majors. This prompted Lily to be involved with the Center for Retailing Excellence at the Walton College, which connects academics and industry. She says programs there have enabled her to meet many senior executives and attend conferences and other business events.

Lily was recently appointed to the Dean’s Student Advisory Board, which provides communication between Walton College undergraduate students and Dean Eli Jones. She serves as treasurer for Students of Retailing Excellence and for Leadership Walton. She also is also outreach director for the Chinese Students and Scholars Association.

This summer, Lily will travel abroad again when she goes to Italy in a program led by Molly Rapert, an associate professor in Marketing. She will intern for Walmart’s Accounting Finance Development Program when she returns.

If things go according to plan, she will finish her senior year early before continuing her accounting education through the Integrated Master of Accountancy program, which, upon completion, makes students eligible to become certified public accountants.

“My philosophy is to challenge your limits,” she says. “You’ll never know how successful you’ll be.”

EPIC Spotlight: Elijah Garcia

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Each year, Elijah Garcia and his family would load up the car and travel from his hometown of Santa Fe, N.M., to visit relatives in Northwest Arkansas. It was one of the few times he would ever get to travel, but he always enjoyed his visits. “There’s a lot of stuff to do in the area and a lot of opportunities here,” he says.

Now it’s time to pursue those opportunities. Like many University of Arkansas students nearing graduation, he’s interviewing for jobs – some of his contacts were made at a career fair held on campus. While he says he’s keeping his options open, should he end up staying in Northwest Arkansas, it would be fine with him.

A senior retail and marketing major at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, Elijah has spent the past year working as a management trainee intern at Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Fayetteville. He says his duties include serving as a middleman between insurance adjusters and the managers of rental vehicles in northern Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas. When Enterprise sponsored a competition among the region’s interns, Elijah came in second with his presentation and won first place overall, earning a scholarship.

Elijah says his decision to attend the University of Arkansas was an easy one. With family in the area, he knew the transition to the next stage in his life would go smoothly. When he learned more about Walton College, it was practically a no-brainer. “That Walton College is highly respected and highly ranked made my choice a little bit easier,” he says.

He paid a visit to the campus before enrolling, and the first thing that impressed him was the buildings with the latest technology, especially Willard J. Walker Hall, which, on the third floor, features a stock market ticker that can be viewed from the second and fourth floors. Then, he met the professors, whom he calls “topnotch.” It all felt right.

One aspect he’s taken advantage of as a college student is traveling. Elijah, who has a Spanish and economics minor, studied abroad for five weeks in Puebla, Mexico, visited New York and, most recently, New Orleans on an AMA trip. He is also a Silas Hunt Scholar and served as a mentor his sophomore year.

Elijah is active with the American Marketing Association’s student chapter where he serves as vice president of fundraising. He says the experience has been invaluable in getting a taste of the corporate world. The group has been researching with Walton College’s supply chain department a “scan and go” app where Walmart and Sam’s Club customers can scan their purchase items with their smartphones before paying at a self-checkout station, he says.

There are also group activities in his Walton College classes, which he says has enhanced his communication skills. “A lot of the group work has really led to my maturity as a professional as well as a person,” he says.

When he’s not in the classroom, Elijah can be found on the campus’s athletic fields, participating in intramural sports. His flag football team recently won the men’s championship. Now, with his college career about to come to an end, there will be new opportunities to champion.