Baker School of Business and Technology Team Wins Coveted Student Challenge at NRF 2019

An FIT team of students from the college’s Jay and Patty Baker School of Business and Technology won the National Retail Federation 2019 Student Challenge, announced at the NRF Foundation Gala on January 13 in New York.

The NRF Foundation collaborated with retailer STORY and KPMG for this year’s Student Challenge Competition. Twenty-five teams from NRF member schools selected from among The Home Depot, IBM, and Kroger to create a 30-page pitch presentation and 90-second pitch video to present to the chief marketing officers of each company.

STORY is an award-winning retail concept that changes like a gallery and sells like a store, reinventing itself every four to eight weeks. FIT Fashion Business Management students Angela Flegert, Alin Intravisit, and Caroline McCormack, and Lara Voronkov, an Advertising and Marketing Communications major, created a retail strategy based on the concept of experiencing the store through the five senses, along with a “sixth sense” driven by artificial intelligence developed in partnership with IBM. The students’ idea features a series of unique events ranging from a soothing aromatherapy session to being transported through a world of virtual reality.

For their winning concept, each of the students won a $1,500 travel award and will receive a $5,000 scholarship.

Each team was assigned a KPMG mentor; after a first round of judging, seven teams advanced to the semi-finals. Three teams moved on to the finals where they presented live to retail executives in New York as part of the NRF student program at NRF 2019: Retail’s Big Show. The students’ proposal for their retail concept included a written paper, a PowerPoint presentation, and a video.

“This accomplishment speaks not only to the talent and innovation of the student team, which came from two of our programs, but to the breadth and depth of a Baker School of Business and Technology education at FIT,” said Steven Frumkin, dean of the school. “This win really showcases what our students are capable of.”

Participating institutions were Columbia College Chicago, Drexel University, FIT, 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 Madison-Wisconsin.

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