The Results

Congratulations Indiana University!

Indiana University Winners

This March, 60 students and advisors from universities across the country arrived at the Kohl’s corporate office to compete in our first Kohl’s Invitational case competition. These students shared their visions of how Kohl’s can better understand, target and cater to the millennial generation. They brought great ideas on how to use digital concepts to enhance the Kohl’s experience—from Kohl’s Kiosk updates to virtual dressing rooms, Kohl’s on Snapchat and much more.

After a preliminary round, the competition was narrowed to three finalists—Indiana University, Penn State University, and Texas State University. These three teams presented their recommendations in front of judges Rick Schepp  (Sr. EVP-HR & General Counsel), Dan Newman (EVP of Planning & Allocation), and Krista Berry (EVP Chief Digital Officer), and an audience of over 100 Kohl’s associates, leaders, and student peers.

Despite the pressure, all three teams delivered presentations that exceeded expectations and wowed everyone in the room. In the end, Indiana University came out on top and not only took home bragging rights, but also received $5,000!

Between presentations, the students had the opportunity to tour the corporate office, preview the Kohl’s Trend Design Open House, and record interviews reflecting on their experience.

To see more photos from the event, visit the @KohlsCampus Twitter page or search #KohlsInvitational

See coverage from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the Kohl’s Invitational here:

The Case

The Digital Store – Kohl’s of the Future

Kohl’s Leadership has challenged the team to develop and present a proposal for a redesigned in-store experience to attract and engage the millennial customer by integrating digital concepts (mobile, digital tools, advanced technology, etc.) with the physical store and merchandise. 

Things to consider:

  • Technology in the store today
  • Customer Service & Engagement
  • The role of an associate in a digital store

    Your assignment:

  • Create a 90-second teaser video to share your initial concept
         • Upload video to YouTube and send a link of the video to by Friday, March 6th at 1:00pm CST
         • See FAQ page for YouTube Video Instructions

  • Develop a 10-page business plan to educate and convince Kohl’s Senior Leadership 
         •Please include the following in your business plan:

              • SWOT Analysis
              • Projected budget and Return on Investment
              • Describe the role of the store associate and how their role will change with your proposal
              • Describe how you will measure success with the proposed change and what analytics will be used to evaluate the result

         • Email business plan to by Monday, March 23rd at 1:00pm
         • See FAQ page for requirements of business plan

  • Build a 20-minute presentation to influence Kohl’s Leadership on the design and technical aspects of the digital store for the millennial consumer
         (prepare for 5 minutes of Q&A)

    See Competition Rules page for details on how teams will be judged.

  • FAQs

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Q:     Should the business plan be single or double spaced?

    A:     Double-spaced


    Q:     Does the 10-page limit include appendices?

    A:     No, the 10-page limit only applies to the business plan content. Additional pages may be used for a table of contents, appendices, references, etc.


    Q:     What will I be reimbursed for?

    A:     You will be reimbursed for mileage to the airport, parking, and meals at the airport. Please be sure to keep all receipts to be compensated.


    Q:     Where can I find additional information about travel arrangements?

    A:     If you have additional questions about your travel arrangements or special requests, please email


    Q:     How do I upload my teaser video to YouTube?

      A:      1. Go to

                2. Create an account

                3. Click ‘Upload’ button in the top right of the screen

                4. On the drop-down menu in the center of the screen, choose “Unlisted”

                5. Click on “Select files to upload” in center of the screen, and choose your team’s teaser video to upload.

                6. While video is uploading, update the title of the video to: “Your University> Kohl’s Invitational Teaser Video”

                – Ex. “University of Kentucky Kohl’s Invitational Teaser Video”

                – It may take several minutes to upload your video

                7. Once the video is uploaded, click “Done” at the top of the screen

                8. A link to your video will appear in blue underneath

                9. Send the link to your video to by Friday, March 6th at 1:00pm CST

                – In the subject line of the email, please include your university/title of your video



    Meet the 2015 Teams


    Florida State University

    FSU Updated

    Indiana University

    Indiana University

    Abby Rekeweg, Monica Ball, Alexandra Larson, Alexa Hankins

    Iowa State University

    Iowa State

    Patrick Dennis, Matthew Konsor, Michael Burt, Quinn Maass

    Michigan State University

    Michigan State University

    Matteo Izzi, Icelyn Williams, Rachel Egeland, Connor Berlin

    Northern Illinois University

    Kelly Moffett, Eugene Marshall, Juan Velazquez,   Thomas Pruiett

    Kelly Moffett, Eugene Marshall, Juan Velazquez, Thomas Pruiett

    Penn State University

    Penn State

    San Diego State University

    San Diego State

    Alisa Knight, Ronald Weaver, Miles Sturken, William Chow

    Texas State University

    Texas State

    Sabrina Silva, Victoria Ruiz, Emily Willis, Jaimee Raver

    University of Arizona

    Arizona State University

    Sydney Strommen, Kylie Stratton, Angel Varela, Jocelyn Caquias

    University of Wisconsin – Madison

    UW Madison

    Kelly McCamley, Morgan Loomis, Lauren Wellenstein, Natalie Rondinelli

    Virginia Tech

    Virginia Tech

    Amanda Brown, Catherine Balzer, Kayla Franco, Katherine Roulston

    Washington State University

    Washington State

    Ember Woolwine, Kristen Ozaki, Jarid Adams, Allyssa Knutson

    Competition Rules


    Teams have approximately four weeks to research, analyze and develop a set of action plans, recommendations, and prepare their presentations.

    Competition rules allow the use of textbooks, notes and the internet for research purposes.

    Discussion of the case with outside sources, faculty or advisors is not permitted.

    The University Team Advisor may assist their team prior to the case distribution and provide recommendations such as researching Kohl’s, gathering ideas, and case study best practices. However, once the case is distributed, the Team Advisor is not permitted to help the students work on the case or give any ideas to help their team.

    Teams can leverage the expertise of their appointed Kohl’s Sponsor to answer case or Kohl’s-related questions.

    Teams are judged by a panel of industry experts, including top level management.

    Teams are required to submit a 10-page business plan to educate and convince Kohl’s Senior Leadership on their findings.


    The presentations will entail two rounds–the Preliminaries and the Final Round.

    The Preliminary Round will consist of three groups of four teams and the Final Round will then be made up of the top team in each group.

    Each team has 20 minutes to present their case analysis and recommendations, followed by five minutes of Q&A.

    Teams are required to support their findings with a PowerPoint presentation.

    All team members must actively participate in the presentation phase.


    Judges will award points based on the written 10-page business plan as well as the presentation.

    Judges will evaluate team findings using the following criteria:

              Creativity (20%)

              • Team strategies will be evaluated on the basis of the creativity and innovation of their proposals

              Practicality (20%)

              • All plans and strategies will be judged in terms of how realistic they will be to develop and execute

              Consistency (20%)

              • All proposals must be consistent with Kohl’s store and corporate image

              Projected Results (25%)

              • Develop proposals in terms of anticipated results; plans should contain justification and be results oriented

              Presentation (15%)

              • Teams will be evaluated on the basis of professionalism, presentation quality, clarity of proposal explanation,  effectiveness of delivery as well as
                the handling of questions


    Competition Details


    The case will be distributed on Friday, February 27, giving teams approximately four weeks to work on their presentations.

    Each team will be given one sponsor from Kohl’s to use as a resource while they work on the case.

    Presentations will take place at Kohl’s Corporate Office in Milwaukee, Wis.on March 24 – 25.

    Team Criteria

    Teams will consist of four students from each University, between sophomore and senior standing.

    Students with aspirations to work in retail are encouraged to apply, however it is not considered a requirement.

    In addition, all majors are welcome to apply, but the case subject matter may be most correlated with the following majors:

    • Business (Administration/Management)
    • Marketing
    • Fashion Merchandising
    • Retail
    • Finance

    Past or present Kohl’s interns are eligible to compete, however each team may have a maximum of two past/future Kohl’s interns.

    All members of each team must be able to travel to Milwaukee, Wis. for presentations on March 24 – 25.