University of Arkansas

Walton College

The Sam M. Walton College of Business

Business Leadership Academy

The Business Leadership Academy is a residential program in the Sam M. Walton College of Business that creates an awareness of retail career choices and opportunities that exist within all college of business majors.

Educational Opportunities

The Academy provides under-represented, newly admitted freshmen with:

  • Basic information on the significance of the retail industry with a focus on retail and consumer studies that demonstrate the interface with all business concentrations;
  • An introduction to the different areas of retail and marketing from the supplier and retailer perspectives;
  • Tools to develop and enhance their leadership skills through collaboration and teamwork;
  • Teaching students the benefits and functions of team building and cohesiveness; and
  • Mentors to support students in their transition from high school to college.

Twenty-seven incoming freshman from Arkansas, Texas, Tennessee, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Illinois attended the 2015 Business Leadership Academy June 7th-11th. The program incorporated meetings and corporate tours with Center for Retailing Excellence board companies Coca-Cola, Walmart Stores, Inc. and Sam's Club. Students worked in teams to complete a mini-case study to identify opportunities for retailers with the Hispanic shopper. Case results were presented at the conclusion of the program. The Business Leadership Academy also incorporates various training initiatives such as etiquette training, presentation skills, and StrengthsQuest in cooperation with the Office of Strength Based Initiatives. While on campus the students completed orientation, and were invited to attend the Center for Retailing Excellence's Emerging Trends in Retailing Conference for the keynote address featuring Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart Stores, Inc. and Richard Smucker, CEO of The J.M. Smucker Company.  For information on the Business Leadership Academy summer program, please contact the The Center for Retailing Excellence, at 479-575-3917 or the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at 479-575-4557.