|Katelyn Korman and Brett Kittilstved
UMD now offers a new Marketing Analytics major in the Labovitz School of Business and Economics. Through the Retail Marketing Analytics Program (ReMAP), students learn quantitative skills that are directly relevant to retail analytics. They receive a solid foundation in marketing and the core business skills while developing excellent written and verbal communication.
Currently there is a severe shortage of graduates who possess strong quantitative skills and at the same time are good at asking industry-relevant questions. Firms are seeking graduates who understand consumers, can make use of large data sets for predictive analytics, and can communicate recommendation to decision makers.
Katelyn Korman and Brett Kittilstved are two of the sixteen seniors in the program. This summer, Korman and Kittilstved interned at two unique places.
Korman always had a strong desire to use analytics for consumers and with her internship, she had the opportunity to really help consumers in their purchases. She said, "ReMAP allowed me to gain fundamental experience in my undergraduate program which I didn't think I would be able to obtain until my masters."
Korman found her internship as a merchandise analyst at Kohls headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisc. at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities job fair, which was recommended to her by Sara Pitterle, the director of ReMAP. Korman choose this company because she had been shopping there for years, it had proven to be a strong establishment during a bad economy, and has one of the best internship programs in the country. "It offered housing, training, and opportunities to try more challenging aspects within field," Korman said. "It also had a fun culture attached to it."
Korman felt that her time at Kohl's was very beneficial. "My work built upon skills I already had in databases and in Excel," she explained. "I also enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment knowing that my work had meaning and was helping real consumers." Korman felt that her internship helped her to become more comfortable with the retail organization and develop good communication skills. "I had to use a lot of my communication skills during my internship," she said. "I had to communicate with a planner to understand and analyze sales forecasting, with the buyer to understand the process of executing buying and the role advertising is playing in financial results, and with the vendors." The communication skills she acquired not only helped her with retail, but everyday life.
Korman's job consisted of considering marketplace factors including: climates, trends, assortments, and regional locations and incorporating these needs into assortment plans. She had to analyze retail sales information and use reporting systems to help assign merchandise to different stores. She had to also figure out a variety of strategic decisions to help with sales.
Korman made such an impression during her internship that the company offered her a job. She has accepted this offer and will start working after graduating this coming May.
Kittilstved always had a passion for business and marketing. "I was interested in ReMAP, because it was the first of its kind in the country, and it allowed me to gain a unique set of skills which are in high demand by many businesses," he said.
Kittilstved interned at Twins Cities Automotive. He had worked at the company previously. After building this solid relationship, he emailed Rick Palmersheim, the corporate human resources director at the company, asking whether there were any internship positions at the corporate office. Together, Palmersheim and Kittilstved designed the internship position around Kittilstved's skills.
Kittilstved worked as a vehicle sourcing specialist and corporate strategy intern. His key responsibilities included analyzing the pre-owned vehicle market and identifying top performing brands and models in the marketplace. "Based on this analysis, I was responsible for coming up with a pricing strategy and purchase plan for how we, Twin Cities Automotive, could obtain these strong performing cars and sell them within our desired profit levels in the shortest time period," he said. He used many skills that he had obtained during the ReMAP program."I utilized advanced Microsoft Excel skills nearly every day and used SPSS regularly to do the competitive analyses of our neighboring dealerships," he said.
"I recently realized that my passion is in consulting," Kittilstved said. His ideal job would be to land an entry-level position as an associate with a management consulting firm. He will graduate in December and plans to pursue a Master of Business Administration after a few years in the industry.
Written by Katarina Menze, October 2012