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Auburn University Wins Student Case Study Competition


Student team takes top honors at 2023 NGA Show in Las Vegas

Alabama’s Auburn University was named the winner of the National Grocers Association’s 2023 Student Case Study Competition.

The annual competition featured teams competing in multiple rounds over the course of the 2023 NGA Show, held Feb. 26-28 at the Caesars Forum Convention Center in Las Vegas, with the final round held during the general session.

The Student Case Study Competition is administered by the NGA Foundation as one of its initiatives to promote career development and position independent grocery as an industry of choice for career-minded college students.

“Case studies are designed to depict real-life challenges faced by independent grocers, illustrate the career opportunities available to students and display the creativity and innovation available in the independent grocery industry,” said Chelsea Matzen, NGA Foundation director. “We are impressed by the talent demonstrated every year and we congratulate the Auburn team as well as the other worthy contenders.”

This year’s case study subject was Dierbergs Markets, a company that dates back to 1854 and currently operates 26 stores in the greater St. Louis area. Faced with “The Great Resignation” spawned by the pandemic, independent grocery retailers must assess how they should structure their financial plans and team activities to increase recruiting and retention. Teams from 11 schools competed by delivering presentations that offered ways to develop a comprehensive strategy for the best combination of internal benefits with competitive corporate positioning.

“Independent grocers should be encouraged by the innovative thinking that comes out of the Student Case Study Competition every year, as it suggests a bright future for our industry,” said Greg Ferrara, NGA president and CEO. “We thank all the participating schools and look forward to hosting this important Foundation program again next year and beyond.”

The NGA Foundation Student Case Study Competition strives to further the professional development of collegiate students pursuing degrees in food and retail programs and provides student teams the opportunity to creatively address a real-world issue currently impacting the industry. The competition, hosted by the NGA Foundation and funded by the Asparagus Club, awards up to $4,000 each to the winning team of students and their university.

Each year, the NGA Foundation selects an independent retailer and a pressing industry issue to use as a subject for the Student Case Study Competition.  After months of research, student teams from the NGA Foundation’s Food Industry University Coalition present their findings at The NGA Show to a panel of judges, the independent retailer featured as the subject of the competition and NGA Show attendees.

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