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The National Grocers Association (NGA) and the Food Industry University Coalition (FIUC) are joining forces to aid the professional development of students enrolled in 13 university food and retail programs at next month’s NGA Show.
“Students are the future leaders of the independent grocery industry,” said Peter J. Larkin, president and CEO of Arlington, Va.-based NGA. The association “is committed to providing additional opportunities for student engagement at future events,” he added.
Student attendees at the show can broaden their knowledge and development via education and networking. The 2013 Case Study Competition gives student teams the chance to deal creatively with a real-world issue currently affecting the industry. Sponsored by the Asparagus Club, the competition awards as much as $4,000 to winning teams of four students who successfully grapple with this year’s case study question:
Chief Super Market Inc., a 12-store independent grocer based in Defiance, Ohio, “...exists to delight customers with great food and experiences.” The company would like the students to use their imaginations to determine what the company should do to fulfill that mission and grow market share.
Students can also join a mentor program pairing them with industry executives who can guide them around the NGA show floor, impart information about the independent grocery business and answer career questions. The show will additionally offer a career center where students can participate in job “speed dating” with retailers, receive feedback on their career paths, and look over publications from coalition universities.
Students will reciprocate by helping moderate sessions, acting as workshop greeters and volunteering for the Women Grocers of America First Annual 5k Run/Walk.
“This opportunity allows universities in the coalition to send top students to the prestigious NGA Show to enhance their coursework through real-world experience,” noted Wes Harrison, a professor of agribusiness at Louisiana State University and FIUC chairman. “Just as the students want to make their schools proud, the universities get representation at the national level which can only strengthen their programs.”
If those interested in attending register for the NGA Show before Jan. 15, they can save $100.