Top Business Schools for Retail and Consumer Goods 2020

Many students are considering an MBA in Retail, and that’s no surprise: Retail and consumer goods are huge businesses. By some estimates, in 2019, the size of the global retail industry was over $20 trillion, driven by behemoths like Walmart, Home Depot, and Costco, as well as by e-commerce retailers such as Amazon and firms in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) segment. Of course, these and other organizations are heavy recruiters of MBA graduates.

Unlike for other industry areas, MBA programs don't often offer specialized curriculum in these industries; you’ll find very few business schools offering specialized MBAs in Retail or Consumer Goods. This is why most students who want to break into retail, out of necessity, pursue general MBA programs. And that’s not usually a big deal, because most of the management knowledge that’s important to the retail industry is generally included in the core MBA curriculum.

However, a few business schools do offer specialized MBAs in the Retail or Consumer Goods industry. These programs typically cover a number of topics, from consumer insights to buying and retail strategy. Some of these programs may often touch on specific sections of the industry, including fashion retailing or grocery.

Depending on their interests, students may also opt for relevant functional concentrations like operations management or marketing, and find networking opportunities through research centers and student clubs.

The list below includes top business schools offering MBA programs in Retail or Consumer Goods, as well as those that place well in the industry.

Madison, Wisconsin 18 Followers 45 Discussions

Wisconsin’s MBA program in Brand and Product Management gives students a solid background in marketing, consumer behavior, and other topics important to the sector. MBAs can leverage Wisconsin’s Center for Brand and Product Management to find internships and jobs. In recent years, more than 20 percent of the class of the school’s MBA class has gone into the consumer products sector.

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West Lafayette, Indiana 18 Followers 79 Discussions
Purdue - Krannert

About mid-way between Chicago and Cincinnati, students at Purdue – Krannert are close to some of the biggest consumer goods companies in the Midwest, including Proctor & Gamble. Students take advantage of this proximity: 13 percent of 2019 MBA grads went into the consumer goods industry.

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University Park, Pennsylvania 11 Followers 59 Discussions
Penn State - Smeal

Although Smeal doesn’t offer an MBA in Retail, that hasn’t stopped students from going into the sector: eight percent of the MBA class of 2019 did just that. Retail operations like The Gap and Amazon have recruited grads in recent years.

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Oxford, United Kingdom 61 Followers 252 Discussions
Oxford - Said

Over the past few decades, Oxford's “Institute of Retail Management” has established itself as one of the premier retail-oriented research centers in the UK. For MBAs, the center offers a specialized eight-week elective course in retailing.

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Toronto, Canada 74 Followers 105 Discussions
York - Schulich

In recent years, upwards of about 15 percent of Schulich’s MBA graduates have gone into the retail, packaged goods, and consumer services industries. Recruiters include many large Canadian-based retailers and multinationals, like Sears Canada and Loblaws.

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Minneapolis, Minnesota 21 Followers 27 Discussions
Minnesota - Carlson

Even though Carlson does not offer an MBA specialization in Retail or Consumer Goods, this doesn’t mean that the school doesn’t places in these industries: of the MBA class of 2019, 14 percent went into the consumer packaged goods sector, and 7 percent went into retail organizations. 

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East Lansing, Michigan 17 Followers 58 Discussions

Seven percent of Broad’s MBA class of 2019 went into the consumer products industry. Graduates are regularly recruited by large firms like Sears and Mattel.

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Columbus, Ohio 15 Followers 34 Discussions

The Fisher College of Business’ Nationwide Center for Advanced Customer Insights produces research that’s relevant to students interested in the retail or consumer goods sectors. Of the school’s 2019 MBA cohort, six percent one into the consumer products sector. In the past, grads have been snapped up by firms like Ascena Retail Group and Bath & Body Works.

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Hyderabad, India 21 Followers 85 Discussions
ISB

India’s fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector is huge, and is growing every year. ISB graduates are realizing this: in recent years, between five and nine percent of the school’s PGP grads went into the sector.

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Bloomington, Indiana 39 Followers 78 Discussions
Indiana - Kelley

Through Kelley’s Center for Education and Research in Retailing, MBAs can get hooked up with potential employers and attend relevant events. Although the school does not offer an MBA specialization in retail or consumer goods, 16 percent of the class of 2019 went into these sectors.

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