Mays Business School senior Leslie Bonorden was selected to compete for a National Merit Scholarship after winning a $5,000 Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF) during the first round of the advanced retail case study. Only one student from each university could be submitted to compete for the next round of scholarships, and Bonorden’s work proved to be Texas A&M University’s best.

In the first round of the competition, competing students evaluated the recent partnership with Etsy, an online marketplace for buying and selling unique goods, and Macy’s, the 159-year-old retail chain. Students were asked to (1) identify the end-use customer the collaboration should target and (2) identify Etsy sellers who would create the most demand. They also developed a marketing campaign and six-month financial plan for The Etsy Shop. Each winner received a $5,000 scholarship. Eight Mays students were named 2017 YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund Recipients, including Bonorden, winning a total of $40,000 in scholarships.

Out of the eight scholarship recipients, she was chosen to compete for scholarships that were as high as $35,000 in the next round of the competition. She worked on the case study throughout the summer while doing an internship with Kohl’s.

Only eight finalists out of all the universities across the nation were selected, and although Bonorden was not selected as a finalist, the process was a great learning experience for her. She said that this project “taught [her] how to clearly communicate [her] thoughts and ideas in a fun and creative way,” and it also taught her that if she works hard at anything, she will be proud no matter what the result.

Cheryl Bridges, a professor of marketing at Mays, teaches the Advanced Retail Case Study course. She said she could not be prouder of Bonorden’s work, and how well she represented Mays Business School and Texas A&M in this highly competitive national competition. “When Leslie won the first-round scholarship last year, the Fashion Scholarship Fund Organization selected her paper as an example of a perfect one,” said Bridges. “I think this is a really good story about how our business school students compete and represent us so well in the fashion and retailing industries.”