MBA Admissions: Consumer Products and Retail

By - Aug 5, 02:50 AM Comments [0]

WhartonA quick glance at Wharton: Wharton currently ranks in third place as one of the best business schools, according to US News & World Report (March 2012). It was ranked #2 for marketing.

Incoming Wharton Students and Consumer Products and Retail

The Wharton class of 2013 has an average of four years of work experience and a median GMAT score of 720.

9% of class of 2013 students entered Wharton with industry experience in consumer products/health care/biotech/retail – admittedly a broad, catch-all category, but that’s how Wharton breaks it down.

29% have undergraduate degrees in business.

Wharton Academics Related to Consumer Products and Retail

Wharton has a new, updated curriculum as of 2012 that features a core curriculum with fixed and flexible courses. The core focuses on analytical skills such as accounting, finance, marketing, management, operations, statistics, and microeconomics, as well as on "soft skills" like ethics, communication, and leadership skills. Students then specialize in an area of study by choosing courses that satisfy major and elective requirements. Students can major in one or two concentrations.

Relevant majors for students interested in this sector are Entrepreneurial Management, Information: Strategy and Economics, Marketing, Marketing and Operations Management (Joint Major), and Strategic Management.

There is also an individualized major that may be appropriate in this case.

Relevant courses (from many of the majors above) include:

  • OPIM 666 Information: Industry Structure and Competitive Strategy
  • MKTG 756 Marketing Research
  • MKTG 776 Applied Probability Models in Marketing
  • MKTG 777 Marketing Strategy
  • MKTG 759 Channel Management
  • MGMT 711 Competitive Strategy and Industry Structure
  • MGMT 712 Managing Interfirm Alliances
  • MGMT 782 Strategic Implementation
  • OPIM 667 Business Transformation
  • OPIM 668 Telecommunications Technology and Competitive Strategy
  • MKTG 621 Marketing Management: Program Design
  • MKTG 622 Marketing Management: Strategy
  • MKTG 668 Monetizing Emerging Interactive Media
  • MKTG 669 Special Topics
  • MKTG 728x Contagious: How Products, Ideas, and Behaviors Catch On
  • MKTG 732x New Product Development
  • MKTG 729 Special Topics - Interactive Marketing: Marketing in the Age of the Empowered Consumer
  • MKTG 760 Law of Marketing and Antitrust
  • MKTG 771 Models for Marketing Strategy
  • MKTG 773 Customer Behavior
  • MKTG 775x Managing the Value of Customer Relationships
  • MKTG 776 Applied Probability Models in Marketing
  • MKTG 777 Marketing Strategy
  • MKTG 778x Strategic Brand Management
  • MKTG 892 Creativity
  • MKTG 894 Entertainment and Sports Marketing
  • MKTG 895 Media and Entertainment Field Projects
  • MKTG 898 Forecasting Methods for Marketing
  • MKTG 655/OPIM 655 Integrating Marketing and Operations
  • MKTG 733x Social Impact of Marketing
  • MKTG 751 Sales Force Management
  • MKTG 753 New Product Management
  • MKTG 754 Pricing Policy
  • MKTG 755 Advertising Management
  • MKTG 759 Channel Management
  • MKTG 781 Entrepreneurial Marketing
  • MKTG 782 Multinational Marketing
  • MKTG 793 Retailing
  • MKTG 896 Retail Merchandising
  • OPIM 614 Managing the Productive Core of the Firm: Innovation
  • OPIM 651 Innovation, Problem Solving, and Design
  • OPIM 654 Product Design and Development
  • OPIM 662 Enabling Technologies

(You can find many of these course descriptions here.)

Students seeking careers in consumer products and retail work closely with the following research centers:

  • Joy H. Baker Retailing Center
  • The SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management

Wharton also has an experimental research Behavioral Lab in which researchers study behavioral topics related to operations and management.

During winter and spring breaks, students may participate in one of Wharton's Global Modular Courses (GMC), courses that expose students to the "challenges and opportunities in regions undergoing rapid change." Some past modular courses of interest to consumer products and retail students include Building Future Markets (in Cape Town), Marketing in Emerging Economies: Understanding and Marketing to the Chinese Consumer (Beijing), and Marketing in Emerging Economies: Understanding and Marketing to the Indian Consumer (Mumbai).

Other international opportunities for consumer products and retail students that complement Wharton's mission of "Knowledge into Action" include:

  • Global Career Treks – Organized by students and MBA Career Services, these treks provide students with group interviews with prominent companies in various sectors, including those in real estate.
  • Global Consulting Practicum – Consulting projects with companies around the world. Past projects have included developing a market entry strategy for an active wear company in Australia, consulting with a Bolivian winery, consulting for a Chilean family-owned tea company on the U.S. organic tea market, and consulting with a Jamaican reggae entertainment and consumer products business on how to enter the U.S. market.

Consumer Products and Retail-Related Clubs and Extracurricular Activities at Wharton

  • Dealmakers (Wharton Sales Club)This club provides its members with the tools they need to "persuasively 'sell' their ideas and become excellent networkers." Good for entrepreneurs, managers, and anyone else who has something to sell.
  • Wharton Graduate Retail ClubA club that allows participants to explore all aspects of the shopping experience, retailing, consumer brands, and e-commerce, both on an international and domestic level.
  • Marketing ClubHere members will receive education, guidance, resources, and support to pursue careers in marketing. The club runs regular activities, including a marketing conference, day on the job company visits, coffee chats with prospective employers, resume and interview workshops, career treks, and more.
  • Wharton Customer Analytics InitiativeThis is a research initiative that helps companies "understand how to monetize the individual-level data that they collect about customers based on applications of academic models and subsequent translations for a high-level managerial audience."

Consumer Products and Retail Hiring Stats and Top Industry Hirers at UPenn Wharton

In 2011, 6.53% of Wharton graduates accepted full-time job offers in the consumer products and retail industry. Broken down according to subspecialty, the percentages go as follows:


Consumer Products 2.23%
Food, Beverage & Tobacco 1.11%
Retail 2.71%


For internships for the class of 2012, 7.68% of students landed interns in the consumer products and retail industry, with details as follows:

Consumer Products 2.25%
Food, Beverage & Tobacco 1.99%
Retail 3.05%


Top hirers include:

  • Amazon
  • Campbell Soup Company
  • Cisco Systems, Inc.
  • Clorox Company
  • Coach, Inc.
  • Comcast Corporation
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Estee Lauder Companies, Inc.
  • General Electric Company
  • General Mills, Inc.
  • IBM
  • Johnson & Johnson – Corporate U.S.
  • Microsoft Corporation
  • Mitsubishi Corporation
  • Nike, Inc.
  • Samsung Electronics
  • Time Warner, Inc.
  • Walt Disney Company
  • Zynga


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