Published: October 31, 2007
Like any business, Target is constantly looking for creative, out of the
box solutions for its retail business challenges. So it’s looking to
business students at The University of Tampa for fresh ideas.
has given UT students two case studies, on how Target can recruit top
hourly and executive team members and on how the company can use
technology to increase grocery sales at its SuperTarget stores. Groups
of students in the Sykes College of Business class Practical Strategic
Assessment have broken up into groups of four to analyze the problems
and seek creative solutions.
A UT professor will pick the top
four proposals, and Target will ultimately choose which group’s solution
is the most creative, realistic, and best presented. A winner will be
chosen on Dec. 7.
It is the first time Target has coordinated
such a program on UT’s campus. Executives hope it will “expose students
to actual challenges that retailers face in today’s competitive
marketplace,” and to incorporate classroom learning into real world
business challenges. The company is coordinating a similar competition
at one other Florida university.
Minneapolis-based Target has 1,591 stores in 47 states.
Tompson, associate professor of management and director of the UT
Naimoli Institute for Business Strategy, said the competition is great
experience for business students, and allows Target to achieve two major
objectives: recruit future employees; and hear some new solutions to
its business challenges.
“The competition allows students to get
real world experience dealing with strategic thinking in a competitive
marketplace,” Tompson said. “And at the same time Target gets some
fresh, out of the box solutions to real world problems.”
case study, Target asks: “How can we better utilize technology to
innovate our food strategy so our guests think of Target first when it
comes to food?” Students are then expected to develop a strategy,
perform a SWOT (strengths/weaknesses/opportunities/threats) analysis,
explore topics including price, product, marketing, trends and economy,
and make recommendations.
The Target Case Study Program is well
suited for testing at the University of Tampa, as one of the goals of
the UT Naimoli Institute for Business Strategy is to have students
develop long-term business strategies for area companies. Each graduate
and undergraduate business student team works with a particular company
for a semester, analyzes the company and the industry and formulates a
new strategy for success.
Tompson said he expects students in the
Target program will similarly learn from the challenges of formulating
real-world business strategy.
“This is the kind of training
students can’t get from a textbook,” Tompson said. “We’re hoping this
program will spur another company to host a similar case study
competition in the spring.”
The Web site for the Naimoli Institute is