Retail has evolved quite a lot in the past few years. Major players who failed to adapt have seen their businesses fail and disrupters appeared to challenge years of established common practices. Multidisciplinary collaborations are essential to company success in the retail industry as every part of business is impacted by new technologies and business models. A telling example is the increasing importance of new AI technologies for e-commerce.
To understand and adapt to this new reality, retailers are increasingly turning towards academic institutions to bridge their knowledge gaps. Universities are ready to support this shift through relevant research and training talent from disciplines as varied as business analytics, data science and sustainability to understand the new retail reality.
The mandate of the Bensadoun School of Retail Management (BSRM) at McGill University is to take retail education to the next level by cultivating the next generation of retail visionaries, researchers and thought leaders to take on grand challenges and discourse on the toughest questions related to technology, global markets and human behavior, civic and social engagement and their impact on the future of retail. The very interdisciplinary setting offered by McGill University together with the integrative nature of the retail sector offers a unique learning environment for students.
To coincide with the official launch of the School in November, the BSRM and RILA are proud to introduce a unique and innovative case competition to students from around the world. The Challenge is composed of a 6 online module Design Thinking course and the finals in Montreal this November. Over 20 student teams of varying disciplines and levels have signed up to tackle what it means to reinvent retail through the circular economy.
Launching the (R)Tech Global Retail Challenge is a testament to both RILA and the BSRM's commitment to enabling positive change in the retail industry. We are proud to be encouraging students to think, collaborate and take-action to tackle the Grand Challenges related to retail. We look forward to seeing the next generation of students shifting the industry of retail towards a more sustainable future.
James McGill Professor Saibal Ray, Academic Director, Bensadoun School of Retail Management