Courses

Required Foundations Courses

RETL 601 Foundations of Retailing

Retail in an industry sector in the midst of profound changes. Although the fundamentals of retailing still remain valid, the whole retail value chain now has to adapt to the rapidly changing and increasingly challenging business environment to survive. At the same time, it opens doors to retail disruptors to use the opportunity to develop new business models to attract customers.

RETL 603 Retail Science and Data Analytics

This course teaches statistical foundations for data analytics, with an applied emphasis to retail using R language. We will go through advanced statistical techniques and methodologies including sampling, regression, classification methods, and machine learning. We implement these concepts by doing predictions on real cases and datasets across several retail: including Real Estate Analytics (using Montreal’s centris data) Restaurant Analytics (Using Yelp data and McDonalds), Entertainment Analytics (using IMDB and Spotify), Dating-apps analytics (using data from Tinder), and Ecommerce analytics (using data from the Apple store). We use these data to make predictions (e.g., how to make a Montreal restaurant more popular, how to create our own Shazam application using Spotify song data, or how to predict IMDB ratings).

Required Core Courses

RETL 611 360 Degree Customer Insight

Managers in every industry – from retail to automobiles to food to banking – need to understand how their customers think, feel, and act. These insights are the basis for developing a marketing plan that attracts customers, delights customers, builds a strong brand identity in the minds of customers, and ultimately creates financial value for the firm. As such, this course will focus on three topics related to customer insight: buying decisions, customer satisfaction, and brand equity. Customer buying decisions are important for managers because they translate into sales and hence profits for the firm. Managers are also interested in maximizing customer satisfaction with their products, since greater satisfaction drives repeat business, positive word-of-mouth, and long-term firm profitability. Finally, managers seek to build brand equity and communicate the brand’s benefits to customers because strong brands ensure long-term profitability of the firm.

We will examine the above topics using a 360o approach that incorporates content and application from different perspectives. From the content point of view, this course will cover key customer concepts and frameworks such as choice models, judgment heuristics, satisfaction models, brand equity models, and theories of persuasion; as well as cutting edge data relevant to customers such as marketing experiments, observational analysis, physiological/neurological responses, online sentiment, and satisfaction modeling. From the application point of view, this course will analyze customers in both online and offline contexts, taking into account important trends in the marketplace such as information overload, use of social media, and environmental consciousness among customers. The overall goal of the course is to leverage customer concepts and data into effective marketing plans that can help managers influence buying decisions, maximize satisfaction, and strengthen brand equity.

This course is designed to help students become astute observers and incisive communicators of business-relevant customer insights. The course is targeted at intellectually curious and motivated students who are interested in pursuing careers in marketing, retail, general management, entrepreneurship, business consulting, media and advertising, or consumer-oriented not-for-profit organizations.

RETL 613 Digital Retailing Models

In this course, you will learn to understand how information technology can be used to expand the reach and acquire retail consumers. We will discuss digital business models, emergent technologies in e-Business, various IT-enabled innovations including digital platforms, and online community business models. Students will draw on these frameworks to engage in team projects that will apply concepts as we see them in class.

RETL 615 Managing Retail Ops and Value Chain

Retail is a vibrant global industry that is going through a lot of changes driven by a host of factors like technology, globalization and competition. The expectation of customers in terms of service and product quality, price as well as a shopping experience and convenience is constantly evolving. They now expect significant amount of product variety available to them seamlessly across channels. Moreover, these products need to be priced reasonably and, if required, delivered to their doorsteps within hours. All these require retailers to reimagine how they manage their own operations and their value chains. Effective and efficient management of retail operations and value chain in today’s omni-channel environment require tackling a variety of challenges – from dealing with suppliers and contracts, merchandising, inventory management, pricing, assortment selection, designing delivery networks, store operations, etc.

This course gives an overview of the retailing industry, and provides foundational knowledge about modern management techniques related to its operations and value chain keeping the following issues in mind: consumers are the central focus of any retail organization, digitization is impacting the whole retail value chain and retail today is omni-channel and global. Specifically, this course examines basic principles, practices and decisions that can lead to satisfied consumers and allow retailers to gain sustainable competitive advantage through its operations and value chain management. Note that this course will go deeper into some of the topics covered in Foundations of Retailing (RETL 6XX) course. Moreover, the focus in this course will be mainly on the concepts with some time spent on techniques, while the course Data-Driven Decision-Making in Retail (RET 6XX) will be mostly technique-based.

RETL 617 Managing for Sustainability

Whereas the other three courses in the core component of the Program focus on managing the consumer experience, this course analyzes methods to manage the other stakeholders in a firm – owners, employees, and the public. This course introduces stakeholder theory and discusses tools managers can use to discriminate between various choices to maximize stakeholder value and balance between competing stakeholder needs. Emphasis is given to situations unique to the retail industry.

Complementary Courses

RETL 631 Digital Media Marketing

The course will provide a hands-on, strategic perspective on developing and launching multiplatform digital campaigns. The content will be based on the three pillars of digital media: paid (sponsored search, display advertising), owned (apps, websites), and earned (social media) and will be applicable to offline, online and omnichannel retailers. The ultimate objective of the course is to train students on how to design, develop, manage, and monitor digital campaigns. With this in mind, prior to sessions covering the three different types of media, budgeting, strategic and content issues will also be covered. In other words, students will develop a 360-degree view on digital campaigns.

RETL 633 Data-Driven Decision Making in Retail

This course discusses how retailers can improve their operational decisions using data-driven quantitative tools based on Machine Learning, Optimization, and Data Analytics. This course covers several types of business decisions including supply chain management, pricing and promotions, revenue management, inventory policies, and assortment decisions. The goal is to prepare students to apply state-of-the-art data-driven quantitative methods to retail environments. Each lecture is based on a real-world application and covers a concrete method that can help managers make informed operational decisions. In each lecture, a problem solving framework is developed that enables students to undertake managerial and technical analysis that aims to result in competitive advantage.

RETL 635 Creativity and the Experiential Economy

This course takes an interdisciplinary perspective on creativity, combining insights from the fields of philosophy, psychology, sociology, and management. The course is divided into three themes based on the core dimensions of creativity – the individual, the process (or the activity), and the end product.

RETL 637 Innovative Retail Technology and Business Models

The retail industry is changing rapidly with new technological innovations. Such innovations allow retailers to track customers at granular levels, monitor the effectiveness of the content they use for digital communication, and position/differentiate their products. This course will be centered around a combination of projects and assignments that highlight the recent innovations in retail. Furthermore, a few guest speakers from the retail industry will be invited to share their experiences with these new innovations and technologies.

RETL 641 Fashion Retail Management

Unlike most of the courses in the Master’s Program in Retail Management which focus on a specific part of the customer journey, this course will look at the specificities of how the customer journey applies to one of the core retail sectors – Fashion, beauty and luxury.

Like other areas in retail, Fashion, beauty and luxury companies are faced with changing consumer behaviour, the challenges of omnichannel retailing, the growth of digitization & emerging technologies, last mile logistics, upscaling of talent and increased competition, e.g. Amazon, new entrants and the globalization of competition.

At the same time, fashion, beauty and luxury companies have different key success factors. In other areas of retail, you can be successful with strong analytical, process driven, visioning and communication skills. In the area of fashion, beauty and luxury, this is not enough. Successful companies in this area need to counter balance the business side with a strong creative funnel in order to be successful. It is just as much about pull marketing as push marketing. It requires strong creative directors and teams who bring to life goods and services that make customers dream come true. It is an area where craftsmanship is essential to satisfy consumer needs. At the same time, especially in fashion and beauty, it is an area of retail where products and services are sold from mass distribution to high end environments. And finally, it is one of the testing grounds to push personalization, the use of new technologies and of social media via relevant key opinion leaders to entice consumers.

Moreover, many of the teachings have strong implications in other industries. Many creative brands, such as Apple, Nespresso, Pixar, … have used similar approaches to become game changers and leaders in their respective industries.

RETL 643 Fintech and Financial Services

In this course we explore the present and future of retail financial services, with an emphasis on the impact of information technologies on the engineering and distribution of financial products to consumers. The course is organized around three applications.

First, we examine the capabilities of blockchains for payments, ownership transfers and the delivery of consumer services. We start with a general presentation of the fundamental challenges underlying payment systems. We then spend one session on cryptography and discuss its role in securing payments and transfers. Equipped with these two building blocks, we then spend two sessions building a blockchain in the lab. We focus on the implementation of distributed consensus, and on the use of blockchains for payments (cryptocurrencies), fundraising (ICOs) and the exchange of services (tokenization).

Second, we explore the design of online platforms that directly offer funding options to consumers. We start with basic principles of credit risk and a primer on the use of data to assess default probabilities on mortgages or consumer loans. We then spend a session on online mortgage lenders and contrast their business model with traditional banking. We close this section with platforms that directly connect consumers with funding needs to consumers with investment needs, i.e., peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding.

Finally, we study the automatization of financial advice. We start with a reminder on the principles of portfolio management. We then spend two sessions on the design of a robo advisor capable of evaluating the risk exposures and appetite of an individual or a household, and of building an optimized portfolio allocation.

RETL 645 Food Retail- From the farm to the fork

The course will take us through the “food-production journey,” teaching students how food is produced and sold. The course begins this journey at the farm: how is food harvested, planned, and sent to retailers? What are the issues that farmers face, and how are these issues affecting retailers?

Then the course moves to the distribution phase. Once the food grows, how is it distributed to retail stores? At this point, we will discuss issues like “Packaging,” “transportation,” “local versus global food chains,” and many other issues.

Then we arrive at the retail store: How can we create better food retailers? Here, we will discuss issues like “shelf life,” “food assortment,” “the grocery store” and “the restaurant.” We will then analyze the restaurant business and understand the ins-and-outs of this business.

Finally, we will move to the consumer. Here we will study how consumers attitude towards food have changed across decades, and how these expectations have been shaping the food production chain (from the farm to the store). We will also study trends in the food production system, including: “organic food,” “fast food,” “nutrition consciousness,” and “food sustainability)

This course will also have four field trips: one trip to the McGill McDonald Campus (to understand food production system); one field trip to a large grocery store (to understand the raw-food retail system); one trip to a restaurant (to understand the prepared-food system); and one field trip to a community food producer—Santropol Roulant or Lufa—(to understand food sustainability).

Internship & Experiential Courses

RETL 621 Retail Internship

The goal of this internship experience is to provide students with an opportunity to explore career interests while practicing knowledge and skills learned in class. It will allow students to be familiar with the operation of a retail firm and acquire knowledge of the industry.

RETL 625 Experiential Retail

The goal of this experiential course is to provide students with practical experiences which will allow them to be familiar with the broad isses in retail management. The course organically integrates three modules:

  1. Retail Projects immerses students into a project (in collaboration with an actual company).
  2. Retail Seminar is a seminar series to present material which is new and important in the field of retail, and which deals with subject matter not typically covered in regular courses.
  3. Retail Case Challenge present material which allows students to investigate problems and to develop solutions on retail topics.
  4. Optional International Trip
Please indicate your preference for the accelerated curriculum when you apply for the program.

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