Raleigh, NC (March 4, 2014) – The North Carolina Retail Merchants Association (NCRMA) joined other North Carolina companies to sponsor the 24th Annual Marketing Summit at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem. The Association recognized the MVP undergraduate student with a $1,000 award. The student-run case competition is an annual event sponsored by Wake Forest University’s School of Business and Center for Retail Innovation. It brings together a powerful alliance of manufacturers, retailers and partners designed to drive new retail trends with a 36-hour student case competition. Students come to North Carolina from all over the world to compete.

NCRMA recognized senior Maggie Wagner as the most valuable undergraduate student participant at the awards banquet on Saturday. Born and raised in Canfield, Ohio, Wagner was selected based on her strong presentation skills and an ability to address challenging questions from judges. Cheerwine was the sponsor for the undergraduate case challenge, and Wagner’s team presented the iconic family-owned southern brand with smart recommendations for taking the brand national.

“My team received our case challenge Thursday night,” said Wagner. “From there, we went into sequester for 36 hours to prepare a creative marketing plan for Cheerwine. We considered macro- environmental factors and looked at operations and logistics. It was a ton of fun and a chance to meet many business leaders.”

Wagner will graduate in May with a major in Business and Enterprise Management along with a concentration in Global Business Strategy. After graduation, she plans to join Deloitte in the Federal Consulting Practice. Last summer, Wagner interned with Deloitte. She was offered a full-time position when she graduated.

Of the six competing undergraduate teams, Northeastern University D’Amore-McKim School of Business won first place and took home a $10,000 prize. Reynolds American, Inc., sponsored the eight MBA teams with a case challenge that included a marketing plan for the Zonnic brand nicotine replacement therapy. UCLA Anderson School of Management team won first place and return to campus with a $75,000 prize.

“NCRMA is proud to be a sponsor of the Summit and to support enthusiastic students through the Center for Retail Innovation,” said Andy Ellen, President of the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association. “Retail innovations are critical to moving an industry forward. Whether it’s involving a customer in a selection of products online or enabling a brand to engage in new technologies to reach its customers, bright young minds are needed in the retail industry. This event cultivates the next generation of retail ideas with competitions that challenge traditional models for the physical and digital space.”

The Wake Forest University School of Business’s 24th Annual Marketing Summit is the premier student-run marketing case competition in the world. It was led by three co-chairs: Gray Robinson (MBA ’14), Margaret Fertig (MBA’14), Blake Armstrong (MBA ’14) and faculty advisor Roger Beahm.

“This is a truly international event, with teams coming from Europe, Asia and Latin America to compete – more than 20% of the teams are international,” said Roger Beahm, professor of practice in marketing and executive director of the School’s Center for Retail Innovation. “We have seen the Marketing Summit build awareness and interest in recent years, but the fact that students are willing to come great distances on their own is a testament to the quality of this event.”

Prize money and trophies were awarded during a reception and awards gala sponsored by Reynolds American, Inc. Other sponsors included Frito-Lay, American Association of Advertising Agencies, Bridgestone Golf, Bellomy Research, Inmar, Twin City Quarter, Chick-fil-A, Texas Pete Hot Sauce, John Scarritt ’79 and Krispy Kreme.

For more information on the Marketing Summit including competing teams, videos, photos, blogs and news feeds, please visit www.marketingsummitlive.com.

About the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association

The North Carolina Retail Merchants Association (NCRMA) is a nonprofit trade association organized in 1902 to improve the business climate for retailers in North Carolina. Over 100 years later, NCRMA remains the voice of the retail industry for North Carolina. NCRMA represents the interests of individual merchants before the General Assembly and serves as a vital link to state government. Its credibility lies in its longevity and commitment to serving the ever-changing needs of its members. The Association’s membership includes more than 25,000 stores from across the state whose business represents 75 percent of North Carolina’s retail sales volume. NCRMA serves both large and small retailers from multi-state chains to local “mom and pops,” and all types of merchants including antique, apparel, art, automotive, book, carpet, department, drug, electronics, floral, furniture, grocery, hardware, jewelry, paint and variety stores. For more information, visit http://www.ncrma.org/.

About the Center for Retail Innovation

The Center for Retail Innovation is an academic center at the Wake Forest University School of Business. It discovers the latest trends in retail or completely reinvents them. The goal is to generate a powerful return on investment for all partners through three major outcomes: innovation-the cultivation of next generation retail ideas, education-the creation of knowledge around retail marketing and data analytics, collaboration-new access and connections among the key players in the retail field. Every year, it leads the three-day Annual Marketing Summit and the Retail Innovation Challenge, two events that engage student teams with manufacturing and retail leaders in competitions.

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