Undergrad Takes 1st Place in International Charrette

Gainesville, Fla. – Sylvia Borek, a graduating senior and one of Warrington’s top students, recently won first place in the 2nd Annual ACRA (American Collegiate Retailing Association) Charrette in Toronto, Canada.

A Charrette is an intense, real-world case business competition in which interdisciplinary student teams solve a complex problem for a business organization. This year’s retail client was Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd (MLSE). One of the largest sports and entertainment companies in North America, it owns the Air Canada Centre, the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto Marlies, the Toronto FC, Leafs TV and Raptors NBA TV.

The students’ challenge: to develop a marketing plan and design a retail environment to optimize the opportunities that Maple Leaf Square (MLSQ) and the consumer products division of MLSQ provides. MLSQ is a $350 million multi-use development project scheduled to open in 2010. As retail consultants, team members, comprised of diverse disciplines with specific expertise—finance, marketing, fashion, communications, and interior design—worked together analyzing and developing business/design recommendations within 72 hours, and presented their solution to a panel of industry judges. Industry judges of Charrette expressed that they were very impressed with the exceptional quality of the team’s outputs and presentations. A notebook computer ($1,500 value) was awarded to each member of the 1st place team (Team Read). Robert Hunter, Executive Vice President, Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment, invited the winning team to the opening of Maple Leaf Squire scheduled in 2010.

“The 2008 Charrette was one of the most rewarding experiences I have had while in college,” Sylvia says. “Not only did I get a lot of hands on experience, but I also got to listen to and meet some of the highest ranked professionals in their fields. I give endless gratitude to the Miller Retail Center for sponsoring me. I only hope that next years’ Charrette will be of equal success!”

Students from the University of Pennsylvania, University of Kentucky, and Brunel University (UK) among others, participated. The 2009 Charrette will be hosted by the David F. Miller Center for Retailing Education and Research at the University of Florida.