Students Head to the Mall to Learn Key Business Concepts


We all struggle to make our lessons interesting and relevant to our students. For a subject like product development or product planning, I know in advance I will need a variety of sources for engaging ideas.

I looked through the Knowledge @Wharton High School website and found a topic all students are interested in – the mall – in particular, the Mall of America in Minneapolis. Here’s a place they all understand. They may not know market potential from market share, but they can tell you which stores are doing well and which ones aren’t, and probably why. They are experts on a business whose inner workings they probably haven’t thought much about. Because I have spent a lot of time discussing service industries, I decided a mall would be a good topic to study. A mall is a product in itself — an entertainment venue as well as a place to shop. Deciding on the range and scope of its stores requires mall planners to create an in-depth business and marketing strategy so that their ‘product’ appeals to its target audience. In addition, planners must take into account that the amenities a mall offers will vary depending on the demographic and geographic group it serves.

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