Academy 2016 Theme: Preparing Tomorrow's Leaders for the Changing Retail World

Published by on Wednesday, 17 Aug 2016

Preparing tomorrow's leaders for the changing retail world

The constant challenge that Oxford Summer School sets itself is keeping the Academy programme relevant and resonant so that we play our part in preparing the retail leaders of tomorrow for the changing retail world, the theme of the 87th school.

The programme content has been designed to reflect the theme for this year’s Academy. Whilst we continue to focus on the five key pillars of retailing, namely, People, Money, Merchandise, Marketing and Retail Space we have revised the content of every day and this year made some significant enhancements to both the Merchandise and Business Exercises.

Our 'People' day is built around a world renowned psychometric tool called McQuaig which was somewhat of a trailblazer having been in use for over 40 years. With expert guidance from Paul Anderson Walsh and Linbert Spencer, delegates are exposed to learning designed to build their personal effectiveness as an individual and a leader by examining ways of developing their ability, character and temperament. The learning doesn't just take place at Keble. The content of the day is also designed to encourage delegates to revisit their self analysis after the school and set personal goals which they can review with their line manager back in the work place.

The revised ‘Merchandise’ Exercise places an increased emphasis on the importance of developing long term and sustainable relationships with suppliers. Recent developments in the market have reinforced how critical it is for retailers to stock products and ranges which resonate with their customers. The demands on the supply chain are such that retailers need to be fleet of foot and able to proactively manage what is the lifeblood of their businesses.

Our ‘Money’ day is led by Dave Meckin, a legend of the Summer School who will be delivering his 23rd Finance Exercise this year. A Chartered Accountant by trade, Dave has an exceptional ability to deliver what most delegates see as the probably the most daunting day of the week in such a way that the learning is almost tangible. The feedback from delegates is outstanding every year as Dave explains the importance of the four key levers in retail finance of profit, densities, cost management and stock turn.

Our 'Marketing' day was completely redesigned last year and was well received by the 86th Delegation. Led by BWP Group, a full service creative marketing agency specialising in destination marketing and focusing on the retail sector, consumer brands and multi channel marketing the day provides delegates with the tools they need to analyse and understand brands and the emotional engagement that they create with customers. The learning is focused on not only helping delegates to understand the art of marketing and its' practical execution back in the workplace but to also be able to influence the development of their company's marketing strategy in the future.

The continuing consumer drive towards an ever increasing requirement for omnichannel product fulfilment is reflected in the changes that we have made to the Business Exercise. Traditionally the culmination of the week, the Business Exercise seeks to draw together the learnings from the week into a single exercise which challenges and stretches the delegates to create a retail trading model which is fit to meet today’s consumer demands. The day is managed for us by senior managers from John Lewis Department Stores, ideally placed to guide the delegates on the importance of ‘Retail Space’ management.

Steve Connell
Academy Programme Director

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