Here’s How This Shoe Legend Is Preparing the Next Wave of Retail Talent

McGill University today opened the doors of its Bensadoun School of Retail Management, named after the Aldo Group founder and executive chairman, Aldo Bensadoun.

The primary funding for the school came from a May 2017 gift from the Bensadoun Family Foundation of $25 million, with $7.5 million in additional funds raised through donations from Walmart, the Apparel Group, Peerless Clothing, Birks Group Inc. and more.

Bensadoun School of Retail Management.
A rendering of the Bensadoun School of Retail Management.
CREDIT: Courtesy image

Having himself attended McGill, Bensadoun donated with the intent of strengthening the institution — which is based, like his company, in Montreal. He explained to FN in a previous interview that the choice to fund a retail school comes amid a shifting retail landscape, with e-commerce redefining what it means to be successful in the space.

“Retail is in a major transformation phase, and I felt the need to have the right institution, on a worldwide basis, help retailers face the new challenges in the industry,” he said. “I felt that with McGill being a very strong institution, we could create an international school where a lot of the best students in the world and the strongest retailers in the world, as well as the strongest teachers in the world, could come together.”

Curriculum at the school will focus on all aspects of retail. With many retailers today looking to make their products and processes more environmentally friendly, sustainability will serve as a key focus for the school, both with regard to research and training.

A first cohort of students entered as undergraduates concentrating on retail management this fall. Ph.D. and masters programs will be added in fall 2019 and 2020, respectively.

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