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

story nrfWASHINGTON, Nov. 2, 2017 – The NRF Foundation 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 Jan. 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.

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

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LWillis@giftsanddec.com

Lenise Willis, editor in chief; Anne-Marie Earl, managing editor; Alex Herring, senior editor; and Cammie Collier, art director; love reviewing new products for Gifts and Decorative Accessories. The team stays on top of the latest trends in bath and body, candles, gourmet items, stationery, home décor, fashion and more, and love chatting about their latest finds. Check in each week for more of their latest picks on GiftRap, and see more of the team on their new bi-weekly video series, Thoughts That Count.

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