The NRF Foundation Student Challenge isn’t your average business case competition. It puts you and your team in a boardroom in New York City, pitching your business ideas for an iconic brand to a room full of the biggest names in the retail business. Since its launch, the NRF Foundation Student Challenge has provided more than $100,000 in scholarship funds to students across the country, and priceless career opportunities.
The Student Challenge is sponsored by KPMG. In addition to hosting the final presentations in New York City, KPMG provides industry mentors that guide and support the teams throughout the Challenge, creating a unique opportunity for students to develop relationships and advance their professional development with top executives in the industry.
The 2019 Challenge:
Akola is a growing, innovative jewelry brand employing women in crisis in Uganda and Dallas, Texas. Operating a vertical manufacturing model, each jewelry piece is handmade by a woman working to redesign her story, the future of her family and her community. Today, Akola offers employment and dependable, living wage work opportunities in raw material production, jewelry assembly and supply chain management roles. Akola’s ability to create a product consumers love, while simultaneously creating social good, has unlocked tremendous potential for distribution. The key to Akola’s success is creating the right product assortment for each retailer and their unique customers.
Students will act as members of the product development team at Akola and will be tasked to select a retailer, develop a jewelry line and create a pitch deck to present to buyers at their selected retailer. Teams of 2-4 students each will create a maximum 30-slide pitch presentation deck and 90-second video presentation to convince the company of why and how their Akola product line should be brought to market.
The NRF Foundation Student Challenge is exclusively open to student members of the NRF Student Association through the NRF University Member program. Each member school can submit two teams of 2-4 students each; interested applicants must check with their school’s NRF Student Association Advisor to see how they are selecting teams to enter.
To join the NRF Student Association as a student member, your school must be a member of NRF. We currently partner with dozens of colleges and universities across the United States to promote careers in retail and provide students with exclusive access to educational, networking and scholarship opportunities. All students at member schools are eligible to join the NRF Student Association for free.
To find your advisor, or for more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“This competition has inspired me to think beyond the status quo. STORY has shown me how innovative retail can be and I’m excited to take what I’ve learned during the Student Challenge and come up with my own inventive ideas.”
- Kendall McDermott, Columbia College Chicago
The Student Challenge enforced our idea that that retail industry is consistently evolving, especially as it relates to technology. The challenge also showed how important data is for a growing business and how said data informs retail strategists.”
- University of Pennsylvania Team