Retailers Mentor Students In Innovation

In today's highly competitive job market, retailers are looking to attract the best and brightest talent to help them innovate and succeed well into the future. It was with this goal in mind that RILA established the RTech Talent Pipeline and Collegiate Network designed to help retailers engage young talent at the collegiate level and expose them to the career opportunities within retail. In November, RILA hosted two events to support this initiative: the Global Retail Challenge and InfernoHack.

RILA and the Bensadoun School of Retail Management at McGill University celebrated the finals weekend of the first inaugural Global Retail Challenge in Montreal, Canada, sponsored by Canadian Tire and VF Corporation. The competition tackled the pressing issues surrounding retail and the challenges facing our societies through an innovative retail case competition. 

The Global Retail Challenge uniquely mixed 25 undergraduate and graduate level student teams who were mentored each week by retail experts from Aldo, IKEA, Oxford Properties, Closed Loop Partners, Canadian Tire, and Cirkla Modo. 

This event was created to help expose students to one of the grand challenges impacting retail: sustainability and the circular economy. Its design thinking curriculum equipped teams to find solutions in innovative and forward-looking perspectives for the future of retail.  

The top 12 teams from around the world came together for one weekend on November 15-17, 2018. Students participated in morning workshops before presenting their final presentations in front of judging panels.

  • ESG UQAM – Second Runner Up 
  • University of Notre Dame 
  • Birla Institute of Management Technology 
  • ESSEC Business School 
  • University of Calgary 
  • Arizona State University 
  • Texas A&M University – First Place 
  • University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business – Runner Up 
  • Paris Nanterre University 
  • McGill University 
  • Asheshi University 
  • Florida State University 
  • Claremont College 
1st Place Winners: Texas A&M University
Simultaneously on November 16-17, RILA teamed up with Petco to host the first "(R)Tech InfernoHack" at Arizona State University. The event consisted of 50 engineering and business graduate students on 16 teams competing in a hackathon to improve Petco's voice commerce and customer service innovations through its new digital PetCoach store.  

Hackers worked with either the Amazon Echo or the Google Assistant voice platform and presented a multitude of new innovative possibilities for PetCoach. The winning team created a machine learning application called "Hungry No More!" designed to better coordinate automated shipments of pet food for Petco's online customers. The team will now have the opportunity to visit Petco's headquarters in San Deigo, CA to present their application to the company's chief innovation executives. 

If you have any questions about RILA's (R)Tech Talent Pipeline or Collegiate Network, please contact Katie Nicholos

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