Eight Teams Named Semi-Finalists for NRF Foundation’s 2018 Student Challenge

WASHINGTON, November 2, 2017 – The NRF Foundation today announced eight teams as semi-finalists for the 2018 Student Challenge, a business case competition for NRF Student Association members to demonstrate their creativity and business acumen to retail executives, sponsored by KPMG. The finalists will attend the NRF Foundation GALA in New York City, where the top team will be announced January 14.

“The purpose of the Student Challenge is to bring classroom learnings into a real-life business scenario, and this year’s concept delivered on that mission,” NRF Foundation Executive Director Ellen Davis said. “We look forward to seeing this year’s finalists thrive as they use this experience combined with their incredible creativity and educational backgrounds to make a difference in the retail industry upon graduation.”

The Foundation has partnered with STORY – a New York City retailer that takes the point of view of a magazine, changes its selection like a gallery and sells things like a store – and KPMG for the fifth year of the competition.

Each team, composed of two to four students, was required to select one of three sponsors – 3M, Staples, or CVS – and then develop a 25-page written pitch and a 90-second pitch video to convince STORY CEO and founder Rachel Shechtman on why and how their proposal should come to life. Each proposal was created to provide an experience for the customer through selected merchandise, marketing approach, social media campaigns and carefully selected events.

Executives from over 20 retail companies will participate in two rounds of judging. Judges will have access to a team’s pitch presentation and video and will score them against the determined criteria. In the second round, judges will take part in a teleconference with teams and ask questions about the pitch presentation and select the top three teams. In the final round, the final three teams will present live to a panel of retail executives in New York City.

The top three teams will receive $5,000 for each participating student. The second-place team will receive $2,500 for each student, while the third-place team will receive $1,500 for each student.

The following teams along with their sponsors have been named semi-finalists. To learn more, click here.

Columbia College Chicago
Chicago/3M

Allison Coppedge
Sara Diaz de Villegas
Nathan Procell

Columbia College Chicago
Chicago/Staples

Ashley Cairns
Blake Fortin
Kendall McDermott

Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising
Los Angeles/CVS

Natasha Azurdia
Njeri Joseph
Tiffany Tran
Whitney Sutherland

Florida State University
Tallahassee, Fla./3M

Jennifer Groce
Alyese Shaffer
Alyssa Menendez

Iowa State University
Ames, Iowa/Staples

Jennifer Junker
Katie Dukes

Meredith College
Raleigh, N.C./3M

Patricia Kalevas
Allison High

University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia/3M

Kelsey Serraneau
Walter Little
Anita Mo

University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, Wis./3M

Megan Lund
Danielle Weber
Elizabeth Wanzer
Victoria Rustad

About the NRF Foundation 
The NRF Foundation shapes retail’s future by building awareness of the industry through statistics and stories; developing talent through education, experiences and scholarships; and fostering career growth among people who work in retail. The NRF Foundation is the 501(c)(3) nonprofit arm of the National Retail Federation and is funded in part by generous donations from retail industry supporters. NRF.com/Foundation

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