MBA Program

​MBA Retail Relevant Coursework

Wharton provides academic coursework for MBA students interested in retail through the Marketing Department and the Operations and Information Management Department. Our course work links retail theory to practice, connecting students with world-renowned faculty. These courses emphasize the most important principles of retailing, including merchandising, design, operations, pricing, customer behavior, digital marketing and ecommerce.

​MBA Retailing Courses

MKTG 711 Customer Behavior

Description: Marketing begins and ends with the customer, from determining customers’ needs and wants to providing customer satisfaction and maintaining customer relationships. This course examines the basic concepts and principles in customer behavior with the goal of understanding how these ideas can be used in marketing decision making. The class will consist of a mix of lectures, discussions, cases, assignments, project work and exams. Topics covered include customer psychological processes (e.g., motivation, perception, attitudes, decision-making) and their impact on marketing (e.g., segmentation, branding, customer satisfaction). The goal is to provide a set of approaches and concepts to consider when faced with a decision involving understanding customer responses to marketing actions.


(Formerly MKTG 793.) This course provides an interdisciplinary overview of the retailing industry. Primary focus will be on the customer facing activities of retailers, including assortment planning, private-label development and the management of in-store operations, and the back-door activities (forecasting and supply chain management) that support customer interaction. In addition, current issues facing retailers, such as customer relationship management, industry consolidation and supplier relations, will be explored. The course will also survey topics in finance, operations, information technology and real estate as they relate to retail.

MKTG 770: Digital Marketing, Social Media and Electronic Commerce

Description: This course explores the digital marketing environment from both a consumer and business perspective. The course provides an overview of various online business models and delves into digital advertising and social media marketing techniques and technologies. A mixture of case studies, guest speakers and assignments, including one that uses real advertising data, translates theory into practice. 


As the concept of CRM becomes common parlance for every marketing executive, it is useful to take a step back to better understand the various different behaviors that underlie the development of successful CRM systems. These “behaviors” include customer-level decisions, firm actions, and the delicate but complex interplay between the two. Accordingly this course is comprised of four main modules.

We start with the discussion of customer profitability – focusing on the concepts of “customer lifetime value” and “customer equity”. We will examine how to measure long-run customer profitability in both business-to-customer and business-to-business environments, and the uses of these measures as major components assessing overall firm valuation. Second, we move to the value that the firm provides to its customers – better understanding the true nature of customer satisfaction and its non-trivial relationship with firm profitability. Third, we examine each of the three main components of the firm’s management of its customer base: customer acquisition, development, and retention – and the complex resource allocation task that must be balanced across them. Finally, we conclude with a discussion of various tactical and organizational aspects of customer relationship management.


Which brands make you happy? Apple? Starbucks? The Daily Show? Google? What draws you into these brands? How do companies create compelling brand experiences? How could you cultivate a brand that makes consumers happy? well-loved brand? This course explores such questions with the goal of identifying the ingredients for building an inspired brand, where brand is defined as “a sensibility” – departing from traditional perspectives of brand. The course is created for students interested in building their own brands and/or immersing themselves in the enhancement of an existing brand, and it is comprised of lectures, cases, guest speakers, discussions, in and out of class exercises, all of which culminate in a brand audit group project that students will present in the final class session. Broadly, the course will be divided into four parts: 1) Understanding Brand, 2) Crafting Brand, 3) Measuring Brand, and 4) Managing Brand. The course will provide students with an appreciation of the role of branding and (taking a consumer-centric approach) will augment students’ ability to think creatively and critically about the strategies and tactics involved in building, leveraging, defending, and sustaining inspired brands.


(Formerly MKTG 896.) This course provides a detailed introduction to the role of merchandising at various retailers, including apparel and other soft lines businesses, grocery stores, mass-merchandisers and “category killers”. Selected topics may include product development, line planning, sourcing, product life cycle, forecasting, planning and allocation, pricing and markdowns, and vendor relations.


New retail brands and opportunities for growth are emerging at an unprecedented rate, for online retailers and offline retailers alike. In this course we will: (1) articulate key principles for successful branding and for understanding consumer shopping behavior in retail environments, (2) demonstrate unique challenges and opportunities that luxury brands face, and (3) discuss concepts and empirical methods for analyzing consumer shopping behavior.

OPIM 697: Retail Supply Chain Management

Description: This course is highly recommended for students with an interest in pursuing careers in: (1) retailing and retail supply chains; (2) businesses like banking, consulting, information technology, that provides services to retail firms; (3) manufacturing companies (e.g. P&G) that sell their products through retail firms. Retailing is a huge industry that consistently been an incubator for new business concepts. This course will examine how retailers understand their customers’ preferences and respond with appropriate products through effective supply chain management. Supply chain management is vitally important for retailers and has been noted as the source of success for many retailers such as Wal-mart and Home Depot, and as an inhibitor of success for e-tailers as they struggle with delivery reliability.

MGMT 653 Field Application Project

MGMT 653 is a program designed to integrate years of advanced study by Wharton MBA students, as they apply what they have learned to solve a problem facing a particular company. Student teams devote a total of approximately 200-300 hours conducting research and analysis in order to research a problem facing the host company. Each team is supervised by experienced Wharton faculty and a 2nd year MBA teaching assistant. The teams consist of 1-2 teams per project with 4-6 students per team. The project culminates in a detailed written analysis with action recommendations.