Going Beyond Statistics to Find Human Connections
Program Areas of Focus
Critical thinking to align business needs with the triple bottom line—people, planet and profit
Using authenticity, compassion, and creative thinking to balance opportunity and threats
Driving results through empathy, listening, and the ability to assume positive action
Identifying and gathering data to understand and design inclusive consumer experiences
Serving consumers and communities by leveraging analytics to uncover meaningful patterns
Converting astute observations into sound recommendations and solid action items
Real-world experience enhances education, from exploring the globe to some healthy competition. Working collaboratively and beyond the confines of a desk, Consumer Behavior & Marketplace Studies students are able to advance their knowledge, passion, and innovation.
NRF STUDENT ASSOCIATION
An affiliate of the National Retail Federation (NRF) and headed by Consumer Behavior & Marketplace Studies (CBMS) undergraduates, UW-Madison’s NRF organization exposes members to the industry through professional connections and experiential industry trips to Chicago, New York, and Minneapolis.
Each January, members travel to New York City to attend the NRF Student Program hosted by the larger federation. It’s a one-of-a-kind and is a one of a kind opportunity for students interested in buying, product development, merchandising, data analytics, supply chain.
YMA FASHION SCHOLARSHIP FUND
Kohl’s Center for Retailing (KCR) mentors UW students through this prestigious national competition, helping them to earn scholarship funds, collaborate with other students, and explore the excitement of the fashion industry through top companies. For more than a decade, Badgers have consistently been awarded YMA Fashion Scholarship Funds, outshining hundreds of entries through creativity and problem solving.
YMA 2020 Semi-finalist Projects:
- Abercrombie Kids & NASA; promoting female representation in science, math, and engineering through fashion.
- Ulta Beauty & The National Park Service, spotlighting national parks via a makeup palette inspired by Earth tones.
- Zara & LinkedIn; leveraging effective company supply chains to reach, and meet the needs of, professional consumers.
CASE STUDY COMPETITIONS
Each year, UW places nationally in student competitions like the Ray Greenly Scholarship, the NRF Student Challenge, the Next Generation Scholarship, the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund, and challenges with retailers like Macy’s, Kohl’s, and Lands’ End.
- L’Oréal Brandstorm
In 2019-20, UW’s Consumer Behavior & Marketplace Studies students were top 10 finalists for a project to reduce plastic in the cosmetic industry. The annual competition explores the future of the beauty industry.
- NRF Student Challenge
2019-2020 brought home a top 3 student challenge award for the EmpowerHER, a Akola and Tory Burch collaboration promoting philanthropy and empowering women to live their dreams. KCR mentored a team made up of a diverse range of majors.
Hosted by the Kohl’s Center for Retailing, Adobe, and Infegy Atlas, students use the digital platforms to identify and bring a “white space opportunity” to life.
TRAVELING AND STUDY ABROAD
CBMS Badgers are on the go, traveling throughout the state, country, and the world to immerse themselves in the industry. Corporate visits, conferences, and events like the Las Vegas various fashion and Chicago’s International Home & Housewares trade shows builds students’ professional networks and delivers exciting insights into their future careers. Study abroad, including the Trends in Europe summer trip and the Experience China semester, provides global perspectives.
"I value the design thinking method that many courses at the Consumer Behavior & Marketplace Studies Program at UW follows. The creative and collaborative group projects and case studies gave me the ability to navigate scenarios in my career."Miranda H. (CBMS ’16), Loeffler Randall Office Manager
The power of UW–Madison’s Consumer Behavior & Marketplace Studies program (and its consistently high rankings) is fueled by our exceptional internship programs, coursework, and faculty. But students are our biggest points of pride. Year after year, they graduate as solution providers, seeing the questions and finding answers.
Effective analysis requires many abilities, only some of which are statistical. Our graduates are prepared to impact the business in meaningful ways through best serving the needs of all consumers in every community.
Our alumni lead and drive the retail industry. And, they invest in the future by supporting today’s UW students. Together, our alumni and students work to continuously evolve the retail industry for the betterment of individuals, communities, and the planet.
Join Badgers in Retail on LinkedIn
Explore the Future of Analytics and Creativity
INFEGY ATLAS TRAINING
Consumer Behavior & Marketplace Studies students can build desirable expertise in Infegy Atlas, a powerful online social listening tool used to understand consumer behavior. Support comes from School of Computer, Data, and Informative Sciences (CDIS).
DESIGN THINKING RESOURCES
The next generation of creative problem solvers are coming up through UW–Madison’s Design Thinking Program. Students are immersed in collaboration, prototyping, group ideation, and other design thinking facets with the UW certificate in design strategy and a range of related courses. Opened in the School of Human Ecology in 2020, the Dorothy O’Brien Innovation Lab is a 1,700 square foot, multipurpose learning space dedicated to developing creative thinkers.