Students interested in graduate-level programs related to retail management have a few options for online study. Both online-only and hybrid programs are available. One option would be a Master of Business Administration program with a concentration in retail management. Online MBA programs often take about two years to complete, though some schools also offer accelerated programs. It is possible to find a fully online MBA program, but many programs require online students to complete one or more on-campus residencies.
Master's degree programs in retail management or merchandising are also available online, though they often include less management courses than the MBA programs. Merchandising programs can also be completed in about two years and include courses in consumer behavior, strategic planning and financial merchandising.
These programs typically require applicants to have a bachelor's degree in a related field. Students must also submit GMAT scores and meet minimum GPA requirements.
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Master's Degree in Retail Management
A master's program in retail management may teach students about managing employees, handling customers and overseeing merchandising. Students in this type of program are likely to qualify for management positions and other top spots within a company. Master's degree programs in business administration with a concentration in retail management are available, but some programs may be offered in merchandising.
Most programs require students to hold a bachelor's degree in business or a related area, such as finance or marketing. Previous coursework in subjects like accounting, management and statistics may be required for entrance into a program. Typically, master's programs have a minimum grade point average requirement and many programs require completion of the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).
Program Information and Requirements
Master's programs usually require around 33-36 credits and may take two years to complete. Typically, though, online programs are offered in an accelerated format that may reduce the time commitment.
Online formats usually allow students flexibility as to when they attend classes since most classes don't have set meeting times. However, there are usually deadlines for assignments and other class work, and classes still operate on the school's regular semester or quarter format.
Communication with instructors and classmates is usually done through message boards, chat rooms and email. Some programs may require students to attend on-campus workshops.
Retail management master's programs don't generally require completion of any general education courses. Most courses are focused on business and management topics.
Consumer behavior courses typically teach students about the behavior of customers. The decision-making process is also studied to give students insight into how and why consumers buy products or services. Marketing is also touched upon with students looking at how marketing methods can be used to sway consumers to buy.
Promotional strategies are usually covered in a marketing strategy course. Meeting customer needs, ethics, retention and customer service may be discussed. Marketing techniques and procedures are also usually included in the curriculum.
This course focuses on the international aspect of business and sales. Students examine international trends and global retailing to help them understand how to reach the international market.
Retail Management Theory
A retail management theory course typically covers strategies used in merchandising and promotions. Topics studied may include trend assessment and future forecasts of buying patterns. In some courses, students may practice case study analysis to learn more about strategies and decision-making.
Executive decision-making is covered in this course. Students learn about building customer loyalty, staying competitive in the market and the analysis process for making management decisions.
Graduates of master's programs in retail management may decide to enter a managerial position in a retail environment. In this position, a person manages employees, handles marketing and oversees customer service in a retail business. There is generally no educational requirement for a retail manager position, but having a graduate degree could help with advancement opportunities.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there was a projected 5% growth from 2014-2024 in employment for sales managers (www.bls.gov). The mean annual wage for first-line supervisors of retail sales workers was $42,900, as reported by the BLS in May 2015.
Pursuing a top executive position is another job option for graduates of retail management master's degree programs. The BLS employment projection for top executives was growth of 6% from 2014-2024. In May 2015, the BLS reported the mean annual wage for general operations managers was $119,460.
Continuing Education Information
No continuing education is generally required for managers, but some companies may offer seminars or other training to keep managers up-to-date on industry trends and changes. Top executives may be required to complete company training programs or industry conferences to remain current on happenings within the industry and the retail management field. Professional certification may be helpful, but it is usually not required for any retail management position.
Master's programs related to retail management can be completed entirely online or in hybrid format that includes some on-campus requirements. These programs teach students how to manage employees, handle customers and market merchandise, and they can lead to promising careers in sales management.