Rick Maguire BS’74
Senior Vice President for Merchandise Planning, Target
Hitting the bull's-eye takes on new meaning when you're talking about Target Corp.
Target is a top corporate partner with the Kelley School, and its new leadership development program is the latest in a long list of innovative Kelley initiatives sponsored by the company.
Starting this fall, more than 1,200 undergraduate Kelley students will benefit from the Target Excellence in Business Leadership program created through a $400,000 grant. The comprehensive program will be woven through every aspect of the undergraduate curriculum. The vision for the program is nothing less than a new generation of top leaders.
The Target Leadership program includes a leadership planning process and behavioral leadership assessment identifying student strengths and weaknesses. Leadership coaches will coach students on their development plans, and Target Corp. mentors will also help students improve their leadership skills. In addition, students will connect with inspiring leaders through a speaker series including top leaders from Target and elsewhere.
There are several positive outcomes for program participants. Students will create personal leadership portfolios, which they can use in their job searches. In addition, an electronic leadership evaluation and a personal development plan are designed to help students plan and improve upon their portfolios. And top students can receive a designated leadership skills certificate by meeting rigorous criteria and achieving high scores on post-program tests.
Prospective business students demand a cutting-edge curriculum and opportunities to demonstrate leadership, civic, and environmental responsibility, says M.A. Venkataramanan, chair of the Kelley undergraduate program. And that's just what they find at Kelley.
Rick Maguire, BS'74 and Target senior vice president for merchandise planning says the skill set the company is looking for in retail management is changing dramatically. "When we hired and recruited on campus (in the past) looking for people to start at the entry level and rise to senior buyer or regional merchandise manager, we were looking for people who were going to be incredibly strong merchants. But that was before we had our own sourcing organization and offices in 35 countries. It was before we had our internal design and development team of about 400 people," Maguire explains.
"We have become so big that we have had to develop expertise in many areas. When we recruit now, we are looking for people with incredible leadership skills. How do you get our product development team, our outsourcing team, our transportation team to become advocates for what is important to your department? It's more about communication and leadership and not who can pick the next hot item," he adds.
"Prospective students have said that initiatives like Target's make IU and the Kelley School a desired destination," says Venkataramanan. "This grant will help Kelley stand apart from other business schools in terms of the leadership experiences it can provide students and the companies who later hire them."
A progressive partner
The new leadership program is just the latest initiative Target has undertaken on behalf of the Kelley School. It's a strong partnership: for three consecutive years, Target's corporate headquarters in Minneapolis has been the top hiring company of Kelley students for full-time jobs and internships.
Target has also sponsored an annual IT Innovation Practicum, a course and competition that challenge Kelley Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS) students to solve business case studies. As sponsor of the competition, Target provided more than $11,000 in prize money to the top four teams, and sent some of their leading managers to Bloomington to serve as judges.