International Supermarket Management Class Goes Virtual

Jul 23, 2020

Over the past 15 years, the IGA Coca-Cola Institute’s International Supermarket Management Class (ISMC) has brought over 1,000 students from 20 countries and nearly every part of the United States together for a multi-day small group learning experience to learn about food trends, best practices, and leadership skills from the industry’s top talent and veterans.

“This is the premier annual learning event for supermarket owners, managers, and supervisors, teaching them to foster a culture that delivers efficiency, great service, and innovation,” says IGA Coca-Cola Institute President Paulo Goelzer. 

And while the demand remains high for the program this year, Goelzer and the Institute team adapted the program to ensure everyone’s safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is moving to virtual classes taught by industry experts that blend group activities, online courses, and pre and post-class webinars. In this new format, students can choose their class modules and attend weekly one hour sessions from the comfort of home (or store, or even on vacation).

Get a preview of the three modules available in this year’s program below, and sign up soon—registration is now open and the first classes begin September 15.

MODULE 1: Retail Executive Leadership Program (RELP)

The online Retail Executive Leadership Program (RELP), a six-week curriculum consisting of webinars, online courses, activities, and support materials, offers managers the opportunity to expand their horizons and redefine their potential.

“We know everyone in the IGA family has been unbelievably busy since the pandemic started,” says IGA Coca-Cola Institute President Paulo Goelzer, “and while it seems like there’s no time for professional development, the pandemic has made it clear: this training is more important than ever for store managers and anyone interested in a leadership role.”

Designed to increase knowledge and skills that enable attendees to lead a retail business, the program provides self-assessments and guided investigations to help managers develop their own unique leadership style for success, learning to positively engage people and teams by responding to challenges with greater sophistication and confidence, making better decisions, resolving conflicts, improving employee performance, and promoting change. “These skills are of the utmost importance in times of crisis,” says Goelzer.

Attendees will gain new perspectives and insights necessary to assess, interpret, and respond to situations of uncertainty through online class sessions, interactive discussions, and integrated weekly activities. “With the program online, students will be able to collaborate with even more of their peers than in past years,” says Goelzer, explaining they will work together to discover different approaches to managing industry challenges they have encountered during their careers, making each session both collaborative, practical, and applicable.

The program is comprised of six sessions (modules) delivered online for six weeks. Each session consists of a webinar, online courses, activities, and support materials. The webinars are approximately 80 minutes long and consist of a group talk and presentation.

“We’re excited to offer this online program to busy individuals seeking more flexibility,” Goelzer says. “While it's one of three parts the International Supermarket Management Course, it's also available to students who can’t commit to that full program but want to focus on the executive leadership.”

Course details include:

  • Duration: 1.5 months (6 weeks) 
  • Class Size: Under 20 students
  • Effort: 2-5 hours per week
  • Format: 100% online
  • Model: Instructor-led
  • Class Day/Time: Tuesdays or Wednesdays 10:00 AM CST 
  • Price: $450.00

Review the syllabus here and register for the RELP module by clicking the button below.

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MODULE 2: Loss Prevention

Discover how to look at your operations through the lens of loss prevention to identify and correct weak points in your security chain. Led by Bill Alford of International Lighthouse Group, Inc., which specializes in best practice education and implementation in loss prevention, asset protection, security, and safety consulting to the retail industry with emphasis on improving operational and financial controls, the course will provide practical advice and the necessary tools to improve your operational practices.

"These are real world solutions that the students can put in place in their stores tomorrow," says Alford about the class material. "Students will learn about operational excellence: how to be better at what you do, how to encourage openness and honesty among employees, and how to prevent back door losses," he elaborates.

The course will meet for one hour a day over the three consecutive days in January 2021, with the first day serving as an orientation and the second two days taught by Alford. There are also seven and a half hours of individual learning sessions as part of this course that will be completed outside of the instructor-led classes.

Alford encourages retailers to open this class up to many of their employees, not just store managers. "It's good for everyone," he says. "In the course, I talk to everyone: store managers, department heads, front-end managers, and receivers, because all of them can help the others prevent loss at various levels."

Course details include:

  • Duration: 2 hours of instructor-led virtual class (2 days of 1 hour sessions), plus a 1 hour orientation
    • 7 hours 33 minutes of online courses (individual learning)
  • Faculty: Bill Alford
  • Orientation: Jan 11, 2021
  • Sessions: Jan 12 and Jan 14, 2021
  • Registration fee: $150

Learn more about the Loss Prevention module of the ISMC here and register by clicking the button below.

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MODULE 3: Sustainability in Supermarkets

Sustainability has slowly become an everyday topic of conversation. Retailers across the country and around the world are more and more frequently focusing their efforts on smart choices that are good for the environment and their bottom line, with initiatives in recycling, waste management, reduction of energy consumption and carbon footprint, water conservation, and food waste diversion, to name a few. Consumers are also paying attention, with a growing number of shoppers choosing to support products and retailers that have sustainable initiatives.

By paying attention to one or two areas such as waste management and energy efficiency, a store can significantly reduce expenses and eliminate wasteful use of resources.

Led by Peter Cooke, director of programs and collaborations at Ecology Action, this module will teach students how they can can impact their store's bottom line by making adjustments and quick changes, while gaining the goodwill of their clients.

Like Module 2, this course will meet for one hour a day over the course of three consecutive days in January 2021, with the first day serving as an orientation, the second day focusing on saving energy, and the third on reducing waste. There are also about two hours of individual learning sessions as part of this course that will be completed outside of the instructor-led classes.

Class Details:

  • Duration: 2 hours of instructor-led virtual class (2 days of 1 hour sessions), plus a 1 hour orientation
    • 1 hour 49 minutes of online courses (individual learning)
  • Faculty: Peter Cooke
  • Orientation: Jan 18, 2021
  • Sessions: January 19 and 21, 2021
  • Registration fee: $150

Learn more about the Sustainability in Supermarkets module here and register for the program by clicking the button below.

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