On Target! – Reality Merchandising - MDR majors offer solutions to industry challenges
Feb 20,2014

MDR students in the Capstone Advanced Merchandising Applications course recently worked with Target Corporation representatives in developing solutions for industry challenges.   Student teams participated in the Target Campus Grant competition and presented their solution proposals to both a faculty panel of judges and a final panel of three Target judges who choose the competition winners.  

Students in the Advanced Merchandising Applications class, the capstone course of their degree program, participated in a competition through the Target Corporation Campus Grant.  These competition grants require students to think, explore, investigate, and propose possible solutions to many of the challenges that they may face in their career paths. This competition has been a part of the MDR students’ industry participation for several years. 

In the Fall semester, nine teams of students worked during the semester on this Target Challenge as part of their course work and involvement with industry.  Target provides the guidelines for the challenge and Target representatives meet with the teams early in the semester as well as for the final judging near the end of the term.  The theme for the competition was Diverse Opportunities – how can Target present relevant products and services for all of their guests and attract potential employees?  The MDR teams were charged with researching the full assortment of products that Target currently offers, determining the competition regarding the issue, and formulating possible existing diversity challenges in the recruitment of talent for Target. 

The proposal consisted of a professional report, SWOT analysis, and a post-implementation SWOT analysis.  Teams and their instructor, Dr. Jessica Strubel, worked together to refine their solutions prior to the first round of competition.  The teams presented first to a faculty panel of judges who scored the presentations.  Only four teams advanced to the final stage where three judges from Target were on campus to judge the final four presentations.  The Target judges awarded first, second, and third place.

The first place team of Michelle Clark, Home Furnishings Merchandising and Anne Fontana, Merchandising (center) are pictured with three Target representatives, including Chris Cahill, from MDR Board of Governors and the first place check for $2,000.

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