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A letter from Jerry O'Brien. Executive Director.

A Note from Jerry 

As I write this, we are right in the middle of the fall shopping season. 

So far it appears that sales are up, and customers are ready, willing and excited to engage with our friends in the industry in every modality and shopping channel.   


This is a great parallel to what we are experiencing on campus.    

Our students are showing a real passion to engage face to face.  But they are also demonstrating a new comfort with virtual learning and engagement.   


Our faculty and staff have been inspired to evolve the way we deliver content by our experiences of being fully online.  We would have never chosen to go through closing our in-person classes, but it is exciting to see the innovative ideas that were developed out of necessity become an important part of our curriculum going forward.   


Much like all our industry partners, supporters and friends, our program has adjusted to the new normal.  And we are better for it. 


I hope you’ll enjoy the following newsletter.  It highlights our amazing students and our exceptional faculty and staff.  Please accept our gratitude.  The Center and all it does is completely dependent on your generosity. 


Happy New Year, 


Consumer Behavior and Marketplace Studies
An Online Degree that leverages technology and research to understand and improve the global customer experience. 

After a lot of hard work, an online degree option has been developed for students interested in completing a degree focused on consumer behavior and marketplace studies in a virtual setting. Students who follow along with this program will receive a bachelor's in Consumer Behavior and Marketplace Studies and feel prepared to enter the retailing industry. By focusing on a "people-first" perspective, students will be able to utilize technology to integrate analytics, retailing and consumer behavior and design thinking. 
Visit the Center for Retailing Website here!
Join the Badgers in Retail LinkedIn group!

Meet our extraordinary Students, Alumni, Faculty & Staff.
Fall 2021 Consumer Behavior and Marketplace Studies Graduating Class

Haleigh Elizabeth Bain
Caitlin Grace Blondin
Madeleine Mae Callahan
Madison Leigh Conklin
Jakob Wyatt Eigenberger
Campbell Renee Thi Hiep Fauber
Lauren Halle Feigas
Taylor Grenier
Katie Marie Hayes
Sara Kassander
Dylan Avery Khazzam
Tanisha Khurana
Adi Krasniansky
Brianna Marie Lee
Elizabeth Daheui Lee
Rachel Marie Maas
Anna Makarova
Ma Guadalupe Miranda Ruiz
Sophia Molea
Julia Reese Packer
Zoe Pasternack
Jason Piller
Alexander Rzepinski
Elias Schwalbe
Olivia Marie Smith
Yinghao Song
Ellie Stringham
Julie Ann Wagner
Kayla Marie Wirth
Helen Sun Yuan
Spotlight: Graduating Senior

Katie Hayes
Senior, Consumer Behavior & Marketplace Studies
Certificates in Sustainability, Design Strategies, and Entrepreneurship 

Connect with Katie on LinkedIn here!

Experiences in the major: "I am a senior in the Consumer Behavior and Marketplace Studies major, with certificates in Sustainability, Design Strategies, and Entrepreneurship. I previously interned with Ross Dress for Less as an Assistant Buyer Intern, and I am currently interning with Sezzle, a financial tech buy now pay later start-up. In my role at Sezzle, I work on the merchant success team. I assist with communication between SMB merchants about integration, site needs, and marketing efforts. I also get to own and manage a variety of projects including audits, creating merchant specific materials, and rolling out our new in-store feature. I am finishing up my last semester as the National Retail Foundation Student Ambassador, where I am the essentially the middleman between the foundation and our campus here at UW. I have loved holding this position and can extend so many thanks to the NRF for endless employment opportunities, retail learning, and connections. I have had the best experience majoring in CBMS at SoHE. This major provides engaging coursework with room to be creative. I generally looked forward to my classes and projects!"

Post-graduation plans: "Following my graduation in December, I have accepted a Customer Success Manager role with UNiDAYS, a student discount app who’s largest market is in Europe. I will be moving to New York City at the beginning of February, so I am super excited for what the future holds!"

My advice to students: "My advice to any student is to GET INVOLVED! It is the best thing to do especially early on in your academic career. I was so lucky to have numerous opportunities offered to me solely for being involved and eager to help out."

As a student, don't hesitate to: "Reach out to alumni! I connected with so many fellow Badgers on LinkedIn and it has been so valuable. I promise that they are excited to hear from current students and very willing to help you in any way they can."

Alumni Spotlight Advice Panel
Featuring Alumni:
My name is Megan Knox. I am the Divisional Merchandise Manager for the Hardgoods Division at Colony Brands, Inc. I graduated with a BS in Consumer Science, Consumer Behavior in Dec 2009. I was one of the first Student Assistants in the Center for Retailing Excellence. 

I am Dan Mendelsohn, I graduated from UW-Madison in 2009 from SoHE and began my career working for Target Corporation in Minneapolis, MN. After spending about six years there in four different roles, I left for a category development job with a health and wellness food manufacturer. My experience working at a retailer like Target allowed me to hit the ground running, and I’ve been in CPG Sales ever since. In my current role at Continental Mills, I am the sales manager for many Midwest-based accounts including Target, Meijer, HyVee and Jewel Osco.

What is your favorite aspect of the retail industry and/or your career?
"Joining the retail industry is a guaranteed way to never be bored again.  My days are packed with idea-generating, problem-solving discussions and projects." -Megan

"Among my favorite parts of working in the retail and CPG industry are the dynamic nature of the business and the array of different roles I’ve been able to experience. Every new year or role brings new challenges and is different from the last. I can honestly say I’ve never been bored in this industry. I’m always learning and developing new skills to help me manage my business better. And every new experience helps broaden my perspective on the industry, the customers I call on, and the consumers our products ultimately serve" -Dan 

What did you find most beneficial about the Consumer Behavior and Marketplace Studies Program at UW?
"I really enjoyed some of the case studies presented throughout courses in this major.  Learning the history of some of the major disrupters and entrepreneurs in the market helped me enter the industry understanding why some decisions were made.  Also, all of the retailers I met through the Center for Retailing Excellence not only opened career doors for me but taught me a lot about company values." -Megan

"The aspect of the program that benefited me the most was having the connectivity and access to so many professionals from various companies across the country. Through Jerry and the Center for Retailing, I was able to build relationships with business leaders, some of which I maintain today, well before it came time to apply for any specific jobs. It certainly helped the eventual process of starting my career after graduation seem much less daunting since I already had a network to lean on." -Dan

How have you observed the retail industry responding to the effects or bouncing back from the pandemic and do you see any for these changes being permanent?
"The world hears “supply chain issues”  and they think late deliveries.  What you don’t see is all the teamwork going on behind the scenes to deliver the best possible customer experience even with unprecedented circumstances. We are in the perfect storm of shortages in parts, labor, transportation.  We are problem solvers and we will navigate out of this, but I hope the teamwork and flexibility is here to stay!" -Megan

"Many retailers were forced to make their offerings, especially food and essentials, more easily accessible to consumers. As a result, more and more retailers provided delivery, pick-up, and drive-up options for their consumers at little or no cost. While some consumers were already using these shopping methods, the pandemic encouraged the masses to try them as well. In my experience in CPG food, there has been a major shift toward purchases originating online and being fulfilled via delivery or store pickup, and I think these options have become a more substantial, permanent part of the retail industry." -Dan

What advice can you give to the graduating Fall Semester class of 2021?
"Trust your future self. Trust that you can do the task, learn the trick, ask the thoughtful question.  It might be uncomfortable,  but you are the graduating class of 2021 and you can do this!  Best of luck!" -Megan

"I encourage graduates to be open to feedback and willing to change. Be ambitious about your personal development. Your career will likely take many shapes and change directions more than once so take time along the way to think about your experiences and what you have learned." -Dan

We are so thankful for the involvement of all of our talented and enthusiastic Wisconsin alumni!
Featured Faculty: Sarah Carter  
Sarah Anne Carter, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of the Center for Design and Material Culture and an Associate Professor of Design Studies in the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She previously served as Curator and Director of Research at the Chipstone Foundation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she collaboratively curated many museum exhibitions and led Chipstone’s Think Tank Program in support of progressive curatorial practice.

Can you share a little bit about the center for design and material culture and how your work dovetails with consumer behavior and marketplace studies?

"The Center for Design and Material Culture (CDMC) is a space for students, scholars, and the public to study, practice, and experience material culture and design. Center research investigates the complex relationships between humans and their material world, today, tomorrow, and historically. The Center focuses on the study of textiles, material culture, and design thinking and is a hub for innovative programs that engage local, national, and international audiences. The Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection, the Ruth Davis Design Gallery, the Lynn Mecklenburg Textile Gallery, and the Dorothy O’Brien Innovation Lab support the work of the Center for Design and Material Culture.  

Material culture directly relates to consumer behavior and marketplace studies. Material culture is the study of the material traces of the past—from deep time to the history that passed just moments ago—and focuses on the interdisciplinary study of material things, spaces, and their representations. Material culture methods can be applied to consumer goods, retail spaces, and related ways of sharing and telling material and visual stories. Material culture approaches teach us how to move from objects to ideas, from what we see and sense to stories and interpretative possibilities those material things may open up or invite. Interested students should consider a Certificate in Material Culture."

Could you tell me a little bit about the class that you created about cultural appropriation?

"One of the CDMC initiatives that I am most proud of is a curriculum that CDMC staff developed to help combat cultural appropriation. “From Cultural Appropriation to Cultural Appreciation: Lessons from the Hellen Louise Allen Textile Collection” is rooted in the textile collection and is geared towards students who plan to engage with cultural objects and themes in their work. Students learn how to identify, talk about, and avoid cultural appropriation.  This is vital work for design students as well as students studying retailing and consumer behavior."

Is there anything else you would like to share? /What advice do you have for our students here at UW?

"The CDMC, and especially the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection and our galleries, are great resources for students in retailing and consumer behavior. Our collection invites close looking and object engagement, while our galleries model meaningful object-based storytelling—both vital skills for career development! Come visit us!"


Highlighting Consumer Science Courses and Career Events.
Virtual Minnesota Industry Trip
November 2021 ~ Minnesota

This semester students were offered the chance to attend a virtual industry trip featuring three Minnesota based companies. Students heard from Merchandise Planner Emily Olsen with Target corporation, Victoria Katz the CEO of Sezzle, and Tory Rylance who is a Merchant Analyst with Best Buy.

Each of the speakers went over their career journeys, talked a bit about their current companies, and filled us in on what they do in the day to day life with each of their jobs. These different perspectives are so great for our SoHE students to see, as it provides them with a wide array of career opportunities and paths that one can take in the retail industry. 

Overall, speakers provided advice on how to pursue similar careers post grad as well as how to succeed in working a full-time job in more virtual settings that companies are transitioning to. 

Student Perspective: 
"During the Minnesota virtual industry trip, I gained a lot of insight into Target, Sezzle, and Best Buy's businesses and company cultures.  These industry trips are a great opportunity for seniors to hear about potential job openings and also for freshman and sophomores to hear about the internships available and the application process for those companies that have them available. I really appreciate the opportunity to hear from and network with these retailers!"
-Katelyn Rosenow

Connect with Katelyn on LinkedIn!
Innovation in Retailing Curriculum and Career Exploration.
Retail Leadership Symposium - Consumer Science 250
Fall 2021 Semester

We were very grateful to transition back into the classroom for classes this semester, especially for this course where we have incredible speakers and professional executives come into our classroom to talk with students about the industry, their specific companies, and the trails and tribulations brought on by a unique year and continuous disruption within the supply chain. We have had the pleasure of seeing multiple speakers come in house to speak to us but many have still chosen to present to us in a virtual format during our class times. We continue to encourage student engagement during class with our Q&A sessions, we have had the opportunity to broaden our range of speakers from successful entrepreneurs to big name companies and even self-made startups in a mix of virtual and in-person settings. Giving our students multitudes of perspectives and opportunities to speak with top leaders and executives, and having conversations surrounding how their passions can turn into a reality in the industry is an essential part of this class and we have enjoyed offering it in a new reverse lecture form that allows for more contact time with guests and more meaningful connections and conversations. 

Blain's Farm & Fleet
Lands' End
Milwaukee Tool
Small Batch Pet Food
The University Book Store
Von Maur

Student Perspective: Adele Moore
Junior, Majoring in Consumer Behavior & Marketplace Studies with certificates in Design Strategies and Entrepreneurship

“Retail Leadership Symposium has given me specialized insights into the multi-faceted world of retail. Often, people ask me to explain my major, Consumer Behavior & Marketplace Studies. Through the symposium, I have learned an exceptional initial framework for describing this unique human-first business major, specifically the retailing component of the curriculum. Previously struggling to find my path, this course helped mold my professional aspirations and my personal goal of using business to create a more equitable and kind world. The retail industry has never been more dynamic or rigorously competitive, and I’m grateful to every retail professional who visits our class. Their contributions will shape the future of retail.”

Connect with Adele here on LinkedIn!

Thank you again to the individuals and organizations that helped make this possible!
CBMS Internship Course - Consumer Science 603
Fall 2021
This semester 22 students participated in the Consumer Behavior Internship program. Internships give students the opportunity to learn first-hand how the industry operates and lets them apply their knowledge from the classroom to a real world environment. Due to continuing affects of COVID-19, many students are engaging in a virtual internship experience. 

Alex Brown
Senior, Majoring in Consumer Behavior and Marketplace Studies, Certificate in Entrepreneurship
"Throughout this Fall semester I have been working as a Data Analytics Intern for the music label Neon16, and my enrollment in CNSR SCI 603 has been incredibly beneficial to my experience. The course has taught me how to be a collaborative and approachable team member, and I've successfully applied these skills to get myself and my work noticed. The most valuable lesson I'm taking away from this course is how to effectively negotiate the benefits of a job offer. Without this knowledge base, I would feel significantly less prepared to advocate for myself through the job offer process, and I now feel better prepared to position myself as a competitive applicant in my future job searches.
         Connect with Alex on LinkedIn here!
CBMS Course Highlights ~ Fall 2021
Retail Financial Analysis
Students in Retail Financial Analysis are able to partake in an incredible opportunity these past couple of semesters. Professor Murray has given students the chance to complete training that provides them with valuable knowledge and Excel skills required for internships and jobs post grad. Excel projects let students apply and demonstrate their newly obtained skills 
such as creating and designing a template from scratch, formatting and printing, relative and absolute cell references, basic formulas, basic formulas, data validations, and functions. 

Leah Zinnen
Senior, Majoring in Consumer Behavior and Marketplace Studies
"Retail Financial analysis has provided me with a deep conceptual understanding of the retail industry and has equipped me with the necessary skills to succeed in a future role. RFA focuses heavily on calculations and analysis, which is something I genuinely enjoy. Professor Murray's knowledge is vast, and she ensures that students have a strong grasp of the material. This class has prepared me for real-world application and the confidence to competitively enter the field."
Retail's Future.
Developing the Industry's Next Generation of Leaders.
National Retail Federation

We will have 40 students attending the NRF student program this January from the 13-16th to hear from executive leaders from a wide range of companies, learn about the new technologies in retail, and network with other students and industry professionals from all over the country. 
 Connect with the Student Retail Association on our website to stay informed on the latest news and events. 

Also, expand your network by connecting with the Badgers in Retail group on LinkedIn!
Thank you. 

To all of our Amazing Partner Organizations.

Kohl's Center for Retailing
Copyright © 2021 Kohl's Center for Retailing, All rights reserved.

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