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Retailing and Retail Operations


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What to Expect

You have to be more than a shopaholic to succeed in a retailing program. These students bring customer service skills and financial savvy to their studies.

Teryn Hoffner, a student at Central Pennsylvania Business School, says a typical day in the retail management program "is very much hands-on and really never the same as the day before. For example, in our visual merchandising class we might go to the mall to design a window display for one of the stores. The hands-on part is what gets you prepared for the workforce."

Hoffner started in a four-year degree program as a business administration major, but changed her mind at the beginning of her second year. "I was sitting in my second-year Spanish class and realized this was not what I wanted," she says.

"I decided I would be much happier in a two-year program focused exactly on what I wanted to do."

Organization and flexibility are key factors to success in the program. "You have to be ready to get work done in a short time, computer work is a must and presentations are always taking place," says Hoffner.

Homework varies, she says, and depends on how motivated you are. She spent about two to four hours per night on homework."

How to Prepare

In high school, running for student council or captaining a sports team is a good way to develop useful skills, says Hoffner. She also suggests taking leadership conferences offered by your school or community.

Trevor Rinard took the same program as Hoffner. He says business students must plan for the expense of the business attire that's required. Male business students must wear suits, ties and dress shoes, and female business students must wear nylons, skirts or business suits, and close-toed shoes.


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