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The NRF Foundation shapes retail’s future by building awareness of the industry through statistics and stories; developing talent through education, experiences and scholarships; and fostering career growth among people who work in retail.

The NRF Foundation shapes retail’s future by building awareness of the industry through statistics and stories; developing talent through education, experiences and scholarships; and fostering career growth among people who work in retail.

Tory Burch and students at Gala

How to apply for a Next Generation Scholarship

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Calling all future retail leaders! The NRF Foundation and a panel of retail executive judges are searching for high-performing students who demonstrate a passion for retail and a unique, innovative perspective on our industry. Recipients will be ambitious, adaptable and have the potential to impact the future of retail.

The 2018 Next Generation application is now open. Read more below and apply today! Please contact scholarships@nrf.com with any questions.

The Next Generation Scholarship is open to sophomore, junior and senior students enrolled full-time at a NRF University Member school when the scholarship is awarded in January 2018.

To apply, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or legal U.S. resident eligible to work in the United States.
  • Have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale.
  • Have had prior or current experience working in a retail job or retail internship. This could be anything from working as a bagger at a grocery store or a server/host at a restaurant to having a summer internship with a retailer. 
  • Be available to attend and participate in Retail’s BIG Show and Student Program in New York City, January 12-14, 2018. 

Previous Next Generation finalists and semifinalists and Ray Greenly finalists are not eligible to apply. For more information, review the full eligibility requirements (PDF).

The 2018 Next Generation scholarship application process consists of two phases. In the first phase, applicants are required to submit an essay, personal brand video, two letters of recommendation, resume, headshot and school transcripts. The application deadline for phase one is Sunday, September 17, at 11:59pm ET.

The top two scorers from each University Member school will receive a travel stipend to cover students’ registration and travel expenses to attend Retail’s BIG Show and Student Program in New York City. Travel stipends will be paid directly to the school. A selection committee will also select up to 25 applicants to move on to the second phase of the application process. These students are also invited to attend the NRF Foundation Gala.

In the second phase, applicants will be required to complete a company-specific project and interview with an assigned retailer. Applicants will be notified by October 12 if they have been selected to move on to this phase and will receive their assigned project. The application deadline for phase two is Wednesday, November 1, at 11:59pm ET.

A panel of retail executive judges will then select five finalists from the group of up to 25 students to receive scholarships. The NRF Foundation will announce the recipients during the NRF Foundation Gala: one $25,000 scholarship for the top recipient and four $10,000 scholarships. Scholarship proceeds will be made payable to the educational institution at which the student is enrolled. 

Application Requirements

Phase One Requirements - Due September 17 at 11:59p.m. ET

In the first phase, applicants are required to submit an essay, personal brand video, letters of recommendation, resume, school transcripts and a headshot. The application deadline for phase one is September 17 at 11:59p.m. ET.

Essay

Compose an essay in response to the questions below. The essay should be on a separate page. Responses should be in paragraph format and adhere to the maximum page requirements indicated. Only .doc, .docx and .pdf files will be accepted.

Tell us about a retailer who has reinvented itself (two-page maximum):

Think beyond the headlines and dig into what led to the reinvention, why it’s important and what impact it has and will make for the retailer and the industry as a whole. Include any significant changes the retailer has shown since making the effort to reinvent. Be specific — not surface-level — and think about events, milestones or innovations that may have influenced the retailer’s decision making.

Personal brand video (maximum of two minutes):

Create a video that reveals who you are and what you are passionate about. Consider including an experience that has shaped you and impacted your career aspirations. Show us why you’re a born retailer and how you’ll inspire and work with professionals who want to lead the retail industry.

There is no specific format to follow, so be creative. Keep in mind, we are looking for applicants who will be industry ambassadors and inspire the next generation of retail leaders. This is not a video resume. It is your chance to differentiate yourself from other applicants. Be authentic and memorable.

Video must be two minutes or less. You will need to submit a URL as part of your application. 

Letters of recommendation:

Two letters of recommendation must be included with the completed application. One must be from the nominated student’s employer (previous or current) who can speak to the nominated student’s character and the second from a faculty member or advisor of the University Member. The letters must be written on a separate sheet of paper (preferably letterhead), addressed to NRF Foundation Board of Directors, reference the Next Generation Scholarship and be signed.

Each letter of recommendation should include the following (one page maximum):

1. How long have you known the applicant and in what capacity? 

2. What skills or abilities does the applicant have that will make him/her successful in the retail industry?

3. What other information about the applicant should be taken into consideration?

4. Why are you recommending that the applicant be selected as a NRF Foundation’s Next Generation Scholarship recipient for 2018?

Resume

You must upload a current resume as part of the application package.

Transcript

You must upload a copy of your college transcript (does not have to be official transcripts) to verify your GPA.

Headshot

You must submit a high-resolution color headshot, at least 300 dpi in .jpg or .tif format. Photographs will be used for promotional purposes to feature recipients of the Next Generation Scholarship.

Phase Two Requirements - Due November 1 at 11:59pm ET

In the second phase, applicants will be required to complete a written project and interview with an assigned retailer. Applicants will be notified by October 12 if they have been selected to move on to this phase and will receive their assigned project. The application deadline for phase two is Wednesday, November 1, at 11:59p.m. ET.

Written Project

Applicants selected to move on to phase two will be assigned a written project on October 12. Additional details regarding the project will be provided at that time. 

Company Interview

Applicants will be required to complete an interview (virtual or in-person) with a retailer as assigned by the NRF Foundation. Additional details will be provided to applicants on October 12.

 

Judges are searching for high-performing students who demonstrate a passion for retail and a unique, innovative perspective on our industry. Specifically, each applicant will be evaluated on their demonstrated thorough understanding of reinventions in retail and specific events, milestones, announcements or innovations that influenced these reinventions in the industry. In addition, applicants should exhibit original, unexpected and creative ideas. 

Email scholarships@nrf.com with questions related to the scholarship process.

September 17 at 11:59 p.m. ET - Phase one deadline: Essay, personal brand video, letters of recommendation, resume, school transcripts and headshot due.

October 12 - Up to 25 semi-finalists selected and notified if moving on to phase two; company project distributed to those applicants via the scholarship platform.

November 1 at 11:59 p.m. ET - Phase two deadline: Company project and company interview completed by this time.

Late November - Five finalists selected and notified.

December - Final round interviews with retail executives for the five finalists.

January 14 - NRF Foundation Gala.

January 12-14 - Retails BIG Show and Student Program.

NRF Student Association

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