Member Highlight: Dar Shkedi Maor, MBA ’21

Q: Why are you interested retail?
A: The retail industry is one of the most fast-changing industries. This requires not only constant adaptation but also creativeness and innovation. I am intrigued by the endless opportunities to make a measurable impact in this industry.

Q: What are your favorite aspects of the retail club?
A: As a member of the retail club you get to actively participate in organizing the MIT Sloan Retail Conference and get exposure to the newest trends and most interesting companies in the industry

Q: Who is your favorite retailer?

A: Zara

Q: Where do you see the industry going in the next five years?

A: A successful retailer will base its business and marketing strategy mostly on data derived from online platforms and social media

Member Highlight: Ashley Aydin, MBA ’21

Q: Why are you interested retail?
A: Retail is arguably the most consumer-centric industry. The consumer is central to all decisions and trends in the space. Retailing promotes accessibility in the sense that consumers are able to purchase the products and services they care about most. Why they care about those products and services (consumer behavior) fascinates me.

Q: What are your favorite aspects of the retail club?
A: The passionate people, diversity of interest in different retail verticals, and the tight-knit community.

Q: Who is your favorite retailer?
A: Home Depot

Q: Where do you see the industry going in the next five years?
A: Winners in the industry will have focused on the art of selling and creating truly omnichannel experiences for customers.

Member Highlight: Elizabeth Raman Grubbs, Supply Chain Management ’20

Q: Why are you interested retail?
A: I’m interested in working with products that I can order and experience as an individual. Retail directly affects my daily life.

Q: What are your favorite aspects of the retail club?
A: I’m excited to learn from the diverse selection of corporate speakers and alumni!

Q: Who is your favorite retailer?
A: Stitch Fix

Q: Where do you see the industry going in the next five years?
I see virtual reality playing a huge part in bridging the gap between ecommerce and brick and mortar stores. Smart mirrors can be used to showcase wider product selections unavailable in the stores or allow consumers to try on and experience pieces from their homes.

Member Highlight: Sunitha Ray, Supply Chain Management ’19

Q: Why are you interested retail?
A: Retail is the most powerful and influential node in the supply chain as it is closest to the consumer and therefore owns the demand. Retailers can really feel the pulse and changing tastes of consumers. What’s exciting is that every small change or tweak in process can have a multiplier effect in sales and the upstream supply chain. I have seen many exciting innovations in my 10+ years in retail consulting.

Q: What are your favorite aspects of the retail club?
A: Events, networking and interacting with other members who are as passionate about retail as I am.

Q: Who is your favorite retailer?
A: There are so many, but I am impressed with Walmart’s scale, culture and people (I’m biased since I consulted there for two years).

Q: Where do you see the industry going in the next five years?
A: From omnichannel retail, I foresee the next five years to cater to international omnichannel – people will shop regardless of geography, the last mile delivery will be solved, personalization will be the name of the game and shopping may become more experiential – small format customer-experience centers rather than big box.

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Member Highlight: Alpha Kiflu, Sloan Fellow ’19

Q: Why are you interested retail?
A: I’m passionate about improving the lives of consumers globally. The retail industry provides the opportunity to constantly think about new strategic problems, analyze markets and also achieve impact.

Q: What are your favorite aspects of the retail club?
A: The MIT Retail & Consumer Goods Conference was amazing event! It was a unique combination of speakers from existing retail powerhouses and young consumer brands

Q: Who is your favorite retailer?
A: Everlane

Q: Where do you see the industry going in the next five years?
A: I expect retail in the developed and emerging markets will start to converge. As logistics requirements evolve to support e-commerce, US retailers will look to emerging markets for innovative solutions. Many players in Africa and Asia have developed innovative strategies to distribute goods to consumers and streamline the route to market (due to the lack of infrastructure available).

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Member Highlight: Seth Harper, MBA ’20

Q: Why are you interested retail?
A: I love working with a physical product that I can see, feel, touch, and understand. Seeing someone’s face light up when they get a chance to try/use/see your product is an amazing feeling.

Q: What are your favorite aspects of the retail club?
A: Meeting all the other students interested in retail. I didn’t realize how many other students would be interested in retail at Sloan, and finding people with similar interests and passions has been extremely exciting.

Q: Who is your favorite retailer?
A: Gore-Tex, although I’m a little biased considering I worked there for four years before Sloan.

Q: Where do you see the industry going in the next five years?
A: Businesses are putting a lot of emphasis on going more and more direct to consumer, cutting out the wholesaler. I see this transition leading to faster development cycles and a greater ability for brands to customize the items shipped to each region, country, or even city to keep up with the latest trends.

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Member Highlight: Victoria Martin, MBA ’20

Q: Why are you interested retail?
A: I’m interested in retail because I love feeling connected to customers. It’s so exciting to work on a project and observe how customers react, whether it’s in store or online.

Q: What are your favorite aspects of the retail club?
A: I enjoy speaking with members about their experiences within retail to learn more about the industry and career opportunities.

Q: Who is your favorite retailer?
A: Amazon

Q: Where do you see the industry going in the next five years?
A: In the next five years or so, I believe that the industry will prioritize convenience. It’s possible to have groceries delivered within two hours, so I think that same day delivery for clothing will become more prevalent as customers develop a higher standard for convenience.

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Member Highlight: Brittany Collins, MASc Supply Chain Management ’19

Q: Why are you interested retail?
A: I like the idea of working for a company with a brand and product that I am interested in and can support as a consumer myself. I think there are great opportunities and challenges for retail and consumer goods supply chains particularly as new channels continue to be offered to customers.

Q: What are your favorite aspects of the retail club?
A: I look forward to participating in the Retail Conference for the first time this year! I also appreciate that the weekly newsletter keeps me very informed.

Q: Where do you see the industry going in the next five years?
A: I believe many consumers will continue to desire tactical in-store experience for certain clothing items, but technology will be further integrated into brick & mortar locations. The technological integration will allow retailers to offer more personalized recommendations and opportunities for customization which will challenge supply chain professionals to maintain appropriate inventory and to meet customer expectations if items are not purchased immediately in stores.

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Member Highlight: Maggie Gibson, MBA ’19

Q: Why are you interested retail?
A: Retail, compared to many other industries, involves tangible products on a day to day basis. The items you are talking about are things you and others will actually use regularly. It is fun to be able to really understand the physical good when you are working in the industry.

Q: What are your favorite aspects of the retail club?
A: The retail club has provided me a network of individuals with similar interests. Because of this, I am more engaged with the hot topics in retail and know much more about the space than I did before Sloan.

Q: Who is your favorite retailer?
A: Athleta

Q: Where do you see the industry going in the next five years?
A: There are so many options, but one trend that I think will continue is the emergence of niche, specialized products. Kickstarter and other similar platforms will enable small start-ups to take a portion of market share from traditional retailers by really getting to the heart of consumer problems.

Q: Where did you intern last summer & what was the most interesting project you worked on?
A: I interned at AB InBev on their global supply team. The most interesting project was an RFID pilot to track cases of beer from the brewery to the distribution center to stores. It was really neat to see the benefits and pitfall of this technology in practice.

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Member Highlight: Evan Chapman, MBA ’20

Q: Why are you interested retail?
A: I am fascinated with understanding customers’ preferences and behaviors and building products that they are going to love.

Q: What are your favorite aspects of the retail club?
A: One of my favorite aspects of the retail club is the opportunities I have had to interact with other MBA students to learn about their experiences and advice for other students looking to transition into retail post-MBA. I have also enjoyed the exposure to different companies from across the retail sector and their perspectives on this fast-paced, dynamic industry.

Q: Who is your favorite retailer?
A: Nike

Q: Where do you see the industry going in the next five years?
A: I think that the use of data, while already incredibly prevalent, will continue to expand in the next five years. While today customers are being segmented according to demographics and purchase history, in the future I foresee retailers being able to ensure they are developing and promoting products at the individual level.

Interested in being featured? Please share your responses with us!