Santa Clara University


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Retail Management Institute?

  • The Retail Management Institute is an academic institute within the Leavey School of Business that offers executive and undergraduate education.
  • The Retail Studies Program, open to all undergraduates, is both an interdisciplinary minor and a club.
  • The Retail Studies minor teaches students about the business of retailing, with classes about store operations, distribution, allocation, merchandising, retail math, and e-commerce. During the summer of their junior year, students will intern at a retailer, either at their corporate headquarters or in store as a manager. The program helps students with their professional development, assists with resumes and interview skills, and connects students to retailers.
  • The Retail Studies Student Association is a club that provides retail-based experiences, like corporate tours at different retailers in the Bay area, networking opportunities, leadership opportunities, speaking engagements, and quarterly club dinners and socials.

What are the deadlines for applying to be in RMI?

  • All students must apply to be in the Retail Management Institute before winter quarter of their junior year. It depends on the individual student's ability to complete the program requirements and course prerequisites. The earlier students apply, the better, as they will have more opportunities to participate in activities, speakers, and club events. IMPORTANT: It is the students' responsibility to check all prerequisites for all required classes (see Curriculum Requirements & Recommended Scheduling PDF under Minor Requirements and Classes page on website).
  Business Major - Going Abroad
Business Major - Not Going Abroad
Non-Business Major - Going Abroad
Non-Business Major - Not Going Abroad
Freshmen No deadline to apply
No deadline to apply
No deadline to apply
No deadline to apply
Sophomores Must apply by Spring Quarter
No deadline to apply
Must apply by Winter Quarter
BUSN 70 Spring
MKTG 181 & ACTG 11 Winter
Must apply by Spring Quarter  (Before Registration for the following Fall Quarter)
BUSN 70 Fall
MKTG 181 & ACTG 11 Winter
Juniors May attempt applying during the first three weeks of Winter Quarter
Must apply by the first three weeks of Winter Quarter
Unable to apply
Unable to apply

What is the application process like?

  • Interested students can pick up an application in Lucas 111, where the RMI Office is located. 
  • After reviewing the program requirements and completing the application, they should turn it in to the Lucas 111, where their minimum GPA of 3.0 will be confirmed and application approved.
  • Next, students will email Associate Director Cynthia Gamage to schedule an informational interview
  • Following a successful interview with Cynthia, students will interview with program Director Kirthi Kalyanam where he will ask them more in-depth questions about their interest in the retail industry and make a final decision on their acceptance to the program.
  • Pending acceptance by the Director, students will then be welcomed by the RSSA President to learn about the social aspects of the club and other student opportunities.

Is RMI a fashion program?

  • No. While RMI welcomes any and all students that are interested in and passionate about fashion, we are not a fashion program preparing students to be stylists or designers. Our curriculum focuses on the business of retailing, with core functions like Merchandising, Production, E-Commerce, Supply Planning, Visual Merchandising, and in-store leadership. Some of the classes have sections that discuss fashion trends and the role it plays in retail planning, but the program itself is not fashion-based.

What will I learn as a Retail Studies Minor?

  • The prerequisites are designed to give students a fundamental business background to develop the creative and analytical skills necessary to be successful in retailing. The retail courses exclusive to the Retail Studies Program are Multi-Channel Retail Marketing, Advanced Retail Studies Seminar: Retail Business, and Advanced Retail Studies Seminar: E-Commerce and E-Marketing. These courses give students a general overview of retail business and allow them to lead conversations about the core functions of retailing that interest them most, while addressing current industry trends, so they are best prepared for a future in the field.

What are the options for finding a job in the retail industry after graduation?

  • The program has a multitude of resources to assist students in their job search. The institute provides invaluable assistance preparing students professionally, aiding them in the internship search process, and ensuring that they find professional full-time employment before graduation. Seniors have had little trouble finding positions in a variety of fields related to retailing after graduation, many with large retailers connected to our program.
  • For the Class of 2012, 81% of students who actively interviewed received and accepted job offers. The national average from 2009-2011 for students who had jobs 1 year after graduation was 49%.

What retailers have students in the program worked with in the past?

  • Target, Macys, Williams Sonoma / Pottery Barn, Levi Strauss & Co., Hugo Boss, PVH, Nordstrom, Cost Plus World Market, GAP, Apple, DFS, Trader Joe's, TJX, Kohl's, and Ross, among many others.

Is the curriculum reflective of current trends in the retail industry?

  • The Retail Management Institute is overseen by an Advisory Board of over 25 corporate executives from different well-known retailers across the nation. They come together twice a year to review the curriculum of the program and ensure that it is appropriate and reflective of current trends in the industry, and will meet the needs of retailers for the future. It is an incredibly rare opportunity to have the insight from so many successful business professionals that have been leaders in the retail industry for so many years, and the students benefit from this learning. To learn more about the RMI Advisory Board, please visit this page of our website:


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