Student Challenge Class of 2019

The Challenge

The NRF Foundation collaborated with STORY and KPMG for the 2019 Student Challenge Competition. 25 teams from NRF member schools selected one of the following companies to focus on: The Home Depot, IBM, or KrogerThey were tasked with finding two to four of the smartest, most creative people they knew to create a 30-page pitch presentation and 90-second pitch video to convince the Chief Marketing Officer of The Home Depot, IBM, or Kroger to select their STORY.

Each team was assigned a KPMG mentor; after an intense round of judging, 7 teams advanced to the semi-finals, which include Q+A calls with a panel of retail executives. Three teams will move on to the finals where they will present live to retail executives in New York as part of the NRF Foundation Student Program at NRF 2019: Retail's Big Show.

The Scholarships

Each student on the top team will receive $5,000 scholarship; students on the runner-up team will each receive a $2,500 scholarship, and third place team members will each receive a $1,500 scholarship. The top team will be named during the NRF Foundation Gala on Sunday, January 13, in New York. 

Finalists

Columbia College Chicago
Columbia College Chicago
Alexia Densmore, Carlos Osuna, Kathryn Williams


STORY Company: The Home Depot
KPMG Mentor: Elisa Holland

Fashion Institute of Technology

Angela Flegert, Alin Intravisit, Caroline McCormack, Lara Voronkov

STORY Company: IBM
KPMG Mentor: Renee Howard

Fashion Institute of Technology
UW Madison
University of Wisconsin - Madison

Lane Dismukes, Molly Foley, Ian Hirsch, Sarah Jane Spreng

STORY Company: IBM
KPMG Mentor: Leila Shin

Semi-finalists

SC 2019 Columbia College Chicago
Columbia College Chicago
Alexia Densmore, Carlos Osuna, Kathryn Williams
KPMG Mentor: Elisa Holland
SC 2019 FIT
Fashion Institute of Technology
Angela Flegert, Alin Intravisit, Caroline McCormack, Lara Voronkov
KPMG Mentor: Renee Howard
SC 2019 - Georgia Southern
Georgia Southern University
Ashley Anderson, Keri Lane, Megan Leban, Elizabeth Nemecek
KPMG Mentor: William Garman
SC 2019 - Georgia Southern 2
Georgia Southern University
Anne Marie Fuller, Alyssa Jennings, Elijah Manning
KPMG Mentor: Swetha Ramjee
SC 2019 - Marist College
Marist College
Jessica Flatley, Rachel Godwin, Angela Richter
KPMG Mentor: Shetaaz Zaman
SC 2019 - University of Tennessee
University of Tennessee
Mary Cayten Brakefield, Scout Parker, Matthew Williams
KPMG Mentor: Kerri Drozd
SC 2019 - UW Madison
University of Wisconsin - Madison
Lane Dismukes, Molly Foley, Ian Hirsch, Sarah Jane Spreng
KPMG Mentor: Leila Shin

Participating schools

As each member university could sponsor two teams, 22 teams from 19 schools participated this year. The creativity and hard work demonstrated by all of the teams made it extremely difficult to select only 7 semi-finalists. Congratulations to all of the teams on their creativity in bringing their ideas for The Home Depot, IBM, or Kroger to life: 

Columbia College Chicago, Drexel University, Fashion Institute of Technology, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, Florida State University, Georgia Southern University, Indiana University, Iowa State University, LIM College, Marist College, Meredith College, Texas Tech University, University of Georgia, University of Iowa, University of Kentucky, University of North Texas, University of Tennessee - Knoxville, and University of Wisconsin-Madison.