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University-Industry Engagement Advisor

UT-Dallas forms new hub for engagement with retail industry

By David Schwartz
Published: November 22nd, 2021

The University of Texas’ Naveen Jindal School of Management has formed a new center that aims to become a hub of connections between students and faculty and the retail industry.

The Center for Retail Innovation and Strategy Excellence (RISE) aims to partner with the retail industry to help prepare companies for the rapid, ongoing digital transformation that is transforming their businesses.

Charles Haseman, RISE’s director, says the center will help retailers “in solving their challenges by collaborating with them on research, education and practice.”

The retails partnership hub will also be a boon for UT-Dallas students in marketing, operations management, and information systems areas, who will have a new pathway to internships, jobs, and experiential learning opportunities.

RISE will collaborate with local companies, nonprofits, and multinationals that already have a presence in the Dallas-Fort Worth region. Partners will sponsor events, undergraduate and graduate student projects, and competitions, while also funding internships and working on research projects with students and faculty. The retail companies partnering at the center also hope students will become part of their future workforces.

But RISE’s first job, according to Haseman, is to change the perception of the retail industry.  “For many people, the first thing that comes to mind when they think of retail is a brick-and-mortar giant like Walmart or, for e-commerce, Amazon,” he said. “For me, it’s the customer experience.”

Haseman hopes RISE will become the “the back office” of retail, helping to innovate and implement customer service best practices.

A large part of that is an omni-channel approach, he asserts, in which companies must shift their focus to behind-the-scenes technology and data manipulation.

“Whether it’s catalogs, brick and mortar, e-commerce or direct-to-consumer delivery, if a company doesn’t have all of these on their pallet, they’re not going to survive,” he said. “The customer experience has to be outstanding on all those fronts.”

Haseman notes that UT-Dallas already has strengths in data management and analysis, computer science, cryptocurrency, and other emerging technologies that are becoming “very real” aspects of retail. The center will also involve numerous other disciplines including global supply chain, marketing analytics, e-commerce, pricing management, channel strategies, customer lifetime value, information systems, and mobile technology.

At its core, RISE will be based on what Haseman refers to as the ‘three P’s: Preparation, partnership, and process.

“Preparation — that’s getting the students ready. Partnership — that’s the corporations all across the world that we want to work with. Process — that’s where the researchers come in,” he said.

The results, RISE’s leaders hope, will be a center that will “pioneer retail corporate response to disruptive technologies and digital transformation.”

Source: Dallas Innovates

Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week

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