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Kohl’s chairman presents guest lecture to business, retailing students

September 30, 2011 By Doris Green

“A brand is a promise,” Kevin Mansell, chairman, president and CEO of Kohl’s Department Stores, told more than 500 students in two sessions of a Wisconsin School of Business course, Marketing in the Real World II, on Sept. 28. Kohl’s market positioning statement, “expect great things” is not only a promise to its customers, but also to its suppliers, investors, and 135,000 associates.

Before Mansell’s lectures, the Wisconsin School of Business and the School of Human Ecology presented a plaque to Mansell, in recognition of Kohl’s as the largest single employer of graduates from both schools. The company has grown to encompass 1,128 stores in 49 states, and has continued to add scores of stores annually in the current economy.

“Kohl’s has been an amazing and generous partner and has contributed significant financial resources and expertise to programs in both schools,” says Jerry O’Brien, Kohl’s Department Stores Center for Retailing Excellence.

“It is a great learning opportunity for the students to see how a successful retailer like Kohl’s Department Stores executes their strategy,” says Steve Schroeder, assistant dean of the BBA program and director of the Business Career Center. “The students are privy to Kohl’s current merchandising strategy and how they deal with the challenges in today’s dynamic retail marketplace.”

“As a leading national retailer, Kohl’s takes seriously their responsibility to be supportive of the next generations of leaders,” O’Brien says. In addition to the retail center, Kohl’s Department Stores sponsors scholarships and other student programs.

An annual spring retail study tour of China is open to students from all majors. The next tour, China, Business, Culture, and the Retail Industry, is set for March 28 through April 7, 2012. Students can apply online. Application deadline is Oct. 7.