Certainly not every marketing student will end up owning a high-class department store like Neiman-Marcus, but at the Mays College he or she at least has the chance to think like a marketing entrepreneur.

Mays students will have the opportunity this spring to compete in the Stanley Marcus Retailing Communications Competition, which gives them the opportunity to generate solutions to businesses’ real-life problems.

Essentially, students choose a local retail business and try to come up with changes in strategy that would improve the operation, says marketing professor Larry Gresham. Then they will spend time with the business owner, observing how the company runs and conducting primary research.

“The primary objective of the project is to provide students with a first-hand look at the problems and opportunities faced by retailing organizations in a competitive and rapidly changing environment,” Gresham says.

Sponsored by Neiman-Marcus and administered by the Center for Retailing Studies (CRS), the competition is open to students enrolled in Marketing 325, an upper-division retailing course. The teams who are selected as finalists will present their projects to a panel of judges, including representatives from the CRS and its student committee, as well as local merchants and representatives from Neiman-Marcus.