"Experiential learning is a key component of the academic experience here at Kellogg. It forces us to think more closely how we can integrate faculty, students, and corporate sponsors in a way that's unique and different. It becomes a way to bring students closer to the real world experiences that they'll face when they leave Kellogg that
they'll also experience throughout their careers."
Eric T. Anderson Hartmarx, Professor of Marketing, Chair of Marketing Department
In this experiential learning class competing business teams of students create live, working online retail commerce sites, leveraging the same enterprise-level technology tool used by the largest product and retail companies around the world. Each student team is accountable to position their retail brand against target consumers, choose category assortment, negotiate certain terms with vendors, set prices and promotions, manage inventories, develop messaging and advertising, factor in competition, and construct a viable business model.
Then comes the innovative part as multiple cycles of real consumers shop the different student stores at an online KSM shopping Mall. Shoppers in the initial 2013 course purchased over $700,000 of merchandise. Real-time management reporting and customer analytics data is generated and used by the students to adapt their strategies. In a nod to how quickly the field of marketing is being re-shaped by new concepts and technologies, the class offers the students a unique opportunity to interact with a diverse range of very senior digital marketing and commerce executives who lecture on current topics and practices within a structured academic framework.
On day one, students enrolled in the class will self-form six competing business teams of five (5) students each. Each team subsequently organizes their management structure and assigns each individual a specific functional role. An illustrative five-person structure might include a Chief Format Officer, Chief Merchandising Officer, Chief Brand/MARCOM Officer, Chief Pricing and Performance Officer, and Chief Technology Officer. Designing, launching, and managing a digital commerce site is an exciting challenge, but is also one that is apt to be unfamiliar to most students.
To guide the transition into full-fledged e-marketers, the course specifies discrete outcomes that each team must complete by week. Key milestones include a comprehensive strategic plan, live market-driven adaptation, and a final Board presentation to senior retail leaders.