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Why Retail Education Is Important Or Not - Retail Expert College Degree Debate

Expert Opinions and Advice About the Value of Higher Education and Training


Retailing has long been regarded as the industry where a successful career is possible without any advanced degree or prior experience. Is this still true in an increasingly competitive global retail environment that requires sophisticated strategies and operational efficiencies?

Experts are divided about whether an advanced retail education is important and whether a college degree in the field of retailing is necessary at all. Read the expert opinions and then weigh in on the debate with your own opinion.

"No" - Retail Can Be Learned In the Streets Without College Books or Classes

Reprinted with permission from John Schulte

John Schulte, President and Charman of the National Mail Order Association (NMOA)

Just because you don't go get a degree does not mean you can be ignorant on your subject matter, it only means you're not paying the university/college to tell you to read books on the subject... more >>

"Yes" - College Degree Essential For Best Retail Headquarter and Operations Jobs

Reprinted with permission from James Tenser

James Tenser, Principal of VSN Strategies, Tuscon, AZ

When a single supermarket can employ 100 people and gross more $50 million annually, wouldn't you think the chain wants its store managers to have some training in statistics, accounting, human resource, business law, marketing, and computing? more >>

"Maybe" - Degree Is Important, Retail Education Is Not Necessary

Reprinted with permission from Linda Cahan

Linda Cahan, Cahan & Company, Retail Visual Design

A retailer has to understand how important psychology, presentation and design are to the science of selling.  In my almost 40 years of retail experience I've had to know drafting (now on computers), algebra, geometry, basic math skills, basic accounting, painting... more >>

"No" - Retail Education Not As Important as Retail Classes with Personal Contact

Reprinted with permission from Donnella Tilery

Donnella Tilery, CEO and Founder of Donnella's Closet

"The biggest thing that takes you from ordinary to success, is planning to make your dreams and wishes into viable goals. After I got a BA in Communications, I really had to consider whether or not I wanted to go back to school for a merchandising degree. Instead... more >>

"Yes" - Retail Education and Specialization Will Lead to a Rewarding Career

Reprinted with permission from Mike Wittenstein

Mike Wittenstein, Customer Experience Consultant

By familiarizing yourself not only with retail, but with the disciplines retail needs, you’re assuring yourself of a long and rewarding career. If you want to work ON retail... more >>

"No" - A Retail Degree is Not as Important as People Smarts

Reprinted with permission from Ginger MacCutcheon

Ginger MacCuthcheon, Owner of Ginger Pet House in Independence, MO

Retail is an art that balances selling and passion - you either have it or you don't!  Experts are fine and training is fine although you need to realize from the very bottom up what it takes to conduct a retail business. I know what it's like to... more >>

"Yes" - Retail Recruiting Happens on College Campuses and Degrees Are Important

Reprinted with permission from Kate Campbell

Kate Campbell, Academic Director of Fashion & Retail Management at The Art Institute of Tampa

Today’s technology has changed the landscape of retailing - e-commerce, mobile-commerce, global commerce, private label development, fast fashion…oh my! There are so many options today for those with the right education...  more >>

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