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Why Study Retail at Degree Level?

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 28 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Why Study Retail At Degree Level?

Whilst it is possible to have a career in retail with just your qualifications from high school, you may find that you’ll hit a career ‘ceiling’ quite early on unless you’ve got a degree. And, whilst there are degree courses in the likes of retail management and retail merchandising, your choice of degree study discipline may well be in business, finance, economics, fashion or some other subject entirely. After all, there are a variety of careers you can pursue such as store operations, human resources, marketing and buying to name but a few.

Why Is A Degree Necessary?

Retail can be quite a complex business where you’ll need to have a firm grasp of products and prices and to be able to come up with ideas for how you’re going to increase profit and decrease losses just for starters. And, whilst nobody would argue that there are highly competent people who have got to the top without a university degree, the competition for the top jobs are fierce and the more qualifications you have, the more likely you’re going to be considered when it comes to career advancement. In fact, without a degree, you’re unlikely to find any kind of opening in areas such as logistics or buying or some other of the specialist disciplines in retail.

Why Would A Retail Career Be Attractive To A Graduate?

It would be quite narrow-minded to think that a retail career isn’t very appealing to a graduate and that there are far more exciting and more lucrative career options to pursue. Retail is in a very healthy position and is only set to continue to grow further so it offers a secure future for most.

Take an I.T degree, for example the retail sector relies on reliability throughout the whole process from manufacture through to distribution to dispatch and the only way to manage that these days is through having elaborate computerised communication processes not forgetting the vast amount of opportunities as the result of the growth of online retailing.

If you think you’re going to be stuck inside a store all day, think again. With a degree behind you, it’s possible you’ll end up travelling all over the world if you work in buying or merchandising. Business graduates will find that they have excellent opportunities to use the skills and knowledge they’ve learned in their education within negotiation, finance, PR or marketing and those of a creative bent can end up working in visual merchandising or perhaps for a retail advertising agency.

Furthermore, because you’ll become exposed to many different functions within the sector as a whole, it will lead you to meet a variety of people many of whom will be invaluable in terms of you picking up useful tips in things like buying, marketing, finance, public relations and marketing. And, it’s often as the result of the broad experience you’ll have gained both within higher education and your career from the various challenges you’ll be exposed to which can even lead you to become an entrepreneur yourself.

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