​MBA Retail Relevant Coursework

Wharton provides academic coursework for MBA students interested in retail through the Marketing Department, the Operations, Information and Decisions Department, and the 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 e-commerce.

​MBA Retailing Courses


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.


This course will help students understand the underlying processes that influence our visual perception and visual cognition, and how visual stimuli can influence consumer memory, persuasion, and choice. Students will also be exposed to eye-tracking instruments that help measure eye movement. We will examine practical applications in marketing, retailing, advertising, branding, design, and packaging.


Description: 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. It is recommended that students enrolling in the course be comfortable using Excel and are knowledgeable in applying regression analysis techniques. Students who would prefer a less technical course may wish to take MKTG 727, Digital Marketing and Electronic Commerce, a half cu course offered by the department.


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.


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.

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 introduces the role of merchandising at various retailers with an emphasis on apparel and soft-line businesses. Selected topics will include product development, line planning, sourcing, product lifecycle, forecasting, buying, planning and vendor relations. Special emphasis will be placed on current trends in retail merchandising through current articles and industry guest speakers. The objective of this course is to familiarize students with merchandising theory and strategies considered to be current best practices in retailing.


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.


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 Walmart and Home Depot, and as an inhibitor of success for e-tailers as they struggle with delivery reliability.


FAP is an experiential-based course where learning is done outside of the classroom. It is unique in its lack of a classroom setting all meetings take place in a professor’s office in small teams of 4 to 6 students. Teams are faced withreal-time issues of outside organizations and work with faculty and host managers to construct innovative solutions. Solutions are integrative and cross-functional in nature. We encourage creative thinking giving students wide access towhat we call “area of expertise” faculty. Depending on the project scope we help students arrange meetings with professors who are experts in their field. Host organizations range from large multinational firms to start-ups. A significant percentage of the projects are with non-profits and organizations focused on social causes. Format: Teams (4-6 members) meet with faculty on a weekly basis (30-45 minutes). There are also 3-5 meetings with host managers. In addition to meeting with a Faculty Head, students are given access to “area of expertise” faculty. These faculty members are chosen based on their specific expertise. The final deliverable consists of an oral presentation and a written document. Requirements: Weekly team meetings with faculty project head and a final PowerPoint report and presentation.