The Ivy League Goes Retail
By George Anderson
Elizabeth Schweitzer wants Federated Department Stores CEO Terry Lundgren’s job. Maybe not tomorrow, but at some point in the future for sure.
Ms. Schweitzer is a 21-year-old graduate of the Wharton School of Business and, as an Associated Press report points out, she is one of the new recruits to the executive training program at Bloomingdale’s.
Why has Ms. Schweitzer chosen retailing to start her career?
“This is a time ripe for young talent to come up in the world of retailing. And I feel lucky,” she said.
Ms. Schweitzer is part of a group of students to graduate from Wharton with a concentration in retailing. Her school and many others are now offering retailing curriculum as the industry tries to promote itself as something other than a business where the pay is lousy and the hours are worse.
Retailers still face an uphill battle in attracting top talent. While Ms. Schweitzer has chosen to enter the Bloomingdale’s program, many of her classmates are choosing to enter fields such as investment banking, where total compensation could reach three-figures in the first year. Entry-level management trainee jobs typically top out at $46,000 for Wharton grads.
Hiring top talent is one thing, but keeping it is another. Many who enter the field, leave it for greener pastures (re: paychecks).
Moderator’s Comment: What will retailers need to do to if they are ever to get past the challenges they face attracting
and keeping talented individuals? –
George Anderson – Moderator