DemandTec, Inc. a San Mateo, Calif.-based collaborative optimization network for retailers and consumer products companies, is holding its sixth annual DemandTec Retail Challenge, a math-oriented scholarship competition for high school seniors.
Originating in 2005, the DemandTec Retail Challenge began as a local math competition in the San Francisco Bay Area to expose students to essential math skills and provide a basic analytical foundation for applied math in the retail industry and throughout the business world. High school seniors across the United States will compete to win monetary scholarships toward the college of their choice and the opportunity to ring the NASDAQ OMX Stock Market closing bell on January 17, 2012 in New York City. Since the competition’s inception, more than $250,000 in scholarship money has been awarded through the program.
The DemandTec Retail Challenge is made possible by the generosity of corporate and individual sponsors, currently including FreshDirect, Giant Eagle, Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian, Informatica Corporation, maurices, Numerical Algorithms Group, RadioShack Corporation, RAM Communications, RetailWire, Stop & Shop Supermarkets, Target Corporation, Tops Friendly Markets, and University of Minnesota Duluth. The deadline for participating as a sponsor is September 15, 2011 and requires only a minimal financial and time investment.
“Target’s continued sponsorship of the DemandTec Retail Challenge is part of our commitment to education,” said Tim Livingston, director of merchandising process and system development at Minneapolis-based Target Corp. “We hope Target’s scholarship grant and team member volunteers will help students get excited about math. By taking part in innovative solutions and programs like the DemandTec Retail Challenge, Target is helping to build a foundation for students that prepares them for college, a career, and life.”
This year DemandTec welcomes the Network of Executive Women as a new strategic partner to the program, contributing in-kind support by providing judges in select regional competitions. “The Network of Executive Women is partnering with the DemandTec Retail Challenge to raise awareness about education and career opportunities in the retail and consumer products industry,” said Joan Toth, president and CEO at the NEW.
The DemandTec Retail Challenge progresses through three stages of competition, each designed to demonstrate the utility of math skills to high school students in real world retail situations.
- Regional Round: Two-person student teams will step into the shoes of pricing analysts at a fictional retailer, choosing prices and basic promotional activity on a week-by-week basis to optimize the retailer's profit. At the conclusion of the pricing simulation, the students will present their results and strategies to a team of industry expert judges, who will select participants for the semi-final round.
- Semi-final Round: The advancing student teams will determine which products are most suitable for advertisement in a weekly circular. Using a tool based on DemandTec's software services, the students will use their optimized promotion choices to create a layout for the circular, along with an explanation of analytical techniques used to choose the advertising strategy.
- Grand Championship Round: The semi-final round winners will converge on New York City and compete at the NASDAQ Market Site in Times Square. Students will use a modified version of DemandTec’s software services to create an enterprise-level strategy by choosing promotional tactics across multiple product categories, modeling category behavior, choosing promotional strategies, and presenting their findings to an executive board of judges. Weighing the analyses, results, and presentations of each team, the judges will select the competition winners, who will ring the closing bell at NASDAQ and collect the grand prize scholarship award.
“For many students, science, technology, engineering, and math are abstract concepts – it’s tough to understand why they matter or how people use those skills in the real world. Interacting with people who are working in STEM jobs, from software developers to marketing analysts who figure out what promotions are most impactful, helps students visualize how bright the future can be if you excel in math and science,” said Suzanne Valentine, SVP of Science & Analytics at DemandTec. “As we kick off the sixth year of the competition, we are very grateful for the generosity of all our sponsors, both new and continuing.”
Any corporation, teacher, parent, or student can get involved and bring the DemandTec Retail Challenge to a new city, district, and school. Interested parties can learn more by visiting: http://www.demandtecretailchallenge.com