Earlier this month, 57 first-year students met with the Oriental grocer’s Board of Directors to present their research on five different topics, including the implications of technology, customers’ needs, competitors and marketing communications, after weeks of gathering and examining information.
The ‘live case project’ of Wing Yip retail is part of the School’s Introduction to Retail Management module, which introduces first-year BSc Business and Economics undergraduates to retailing each year.
The School of Business and Economics has been collaborating successfully with major retailers on student ‘live case’ retail projects since the inception of the BSc in Retailing, Marketing and Management degree in 1991.
In October, the Wing Yip company signed an agreement with the SBE to sponsor the popular module for the next three years.
As a result of the partnership, students enjoyed a field trip to the Wing Yip head office in Birmingham, which included a company presentation on its retail functions and a tour of operations.
The students also got to hear the history of Wing Yip, which was founded by Mr Woon Wing Yip OBE in 1970.
Mr Wing Yip arrived from Hong Kong in 1959 with just £10 in his pocket and went on to build the UK’s largest Oriental grocery business.
His son, Brian Yip, is a Loughborough alumnus having graduated in 1997 with a BSc in Banking and Finance from the School of Business and Economics.
As Managing Director of the business, Brian got to hear the students’ ideas for how the company could develop its retailing and marketing strategies.
He said: “They far exceeded all our expectations. The Loughborough students bring a fresh insight to our business, which is important in the digital era.
“We look forward to building on the success of these first projects [as the module continues] over the next few years”.
Dr Cathy Hart, SBE Alumni Director and Senior Lecturer in Retailing, commented: “The Wing Yip Birmingham operation provides an excellent ‘live case’ for our students to research retail management in action.
“Within the 10-acre Birmingham site, the students can study all retail functions from buying, store operations, distribution and logistics to online retailing, brand marketing, social media and more.
“Importantly, this illustrates the wide range of exciting career opportunities in retailing.”
As well as the module sponsorship, the company is launching five new placement roles targeted to students from the School of Business and Economics.
In addition, the Wing Yip Foundation has funded three scholarships for undergraduate students in the School of Business and Economics. These scholarships, worth £9,000 each, are awarded to talented students from less advantaged backgrounds who have secured high grades at A-Level.