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UT MBAs Extend Campus to Dallas

Frito Lay

2011 MBA FritoLay visit - UT MBA faculty and students with Will Leach, director of shopper insights, Frito-Lay (far left) and Wayne Luciano, VP of marketing, CROSSMARK (second from left)

KNOXVILLE, TN — For its second consecutive year, the full-time MBA program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, took students interested in marketing careers to a two-day applied-learning experience at Frito-Lay in Dallas, TX. The students saw first-hand how Frito-Lay’s SMART [Shopper Marketing and Retail Testing] Learning Center laboratory yields shopper insights; how retailers—including WalMart, Sams Club, Walgreens and Tom Thumb—design and stock their planograms; and how in-store execution impacts product movement.

These students are benefitting from the emphasis the college has been placing on shopper marketing, a cutting-edge discipline in brand management, sales, and retailing. 

Shopper marketing is about influencing consumers when they are on the path to purchase.  It’s a collaborative blending of retailing, branding, and sales efforts, with a heavy emphasis on analysis and shopper insights. Along with social media, shopper marketing is one of the fastest growing segments of consumer goods marketing today.

While visiting Frito-Lay, a strategic partner of the college, the students spent time with business leaders discussing the advanced cross-disciplinary research being conducted at the SMART facility and how those insights related to Frito-Lay strategies.  They also met time with UT MBA alums who now work full-time at CROSSMARK and other CROSSMARK leaders and discussed the critical role that agencies and brokers play in analyzing and creating strategies based on Nielsen consumer purchasing data. The students also visited at least five different retailers to examine merchandising and back-room operations. 

Although the long days spanned into the weekend, the students unanimously found that the experience significantly enhanced their in-class learning.

The Dallas visit occurred two weeks before the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Business Administration hosts its third annual Shopper Marketing Forum Executive Summit.  The Executive Summit brings together about 50 C-level and senior executives from retailers, manufacturers, research companies, and marketing agencies nationwide to engage in two days of discussion with faculty and students about shopper marketing challenges. 

“This is our second year bringing students to Dallas, enabling UT to have an ‘extended-campus’ in which our students and faculty can reach out and connect to partner organizations nationwide,” says Dan Flint, full-time MBA marketing faculty member and director of UT’s Shopper Marketing Forum. 

Chris Andrews, a current MBA student who will be joining CROSSMARK full-time in January, also reacted very positively to the trip: “The trip was an amazing experience for all of us.  We are extremely privileged at UT to have close relationships with premiere companies such as CROSSMARK and Frito-Lay that allow us to participate in these unparalleled opportunities.”

The vision for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Business Administration is to be the country’s go-to university for shopper marketing expertise.  Thanks to partners such as Frito-Lay, PepsiCo, CROSSMARK, Bush Bros, Mars Advertising, Anderson Merchandisers, Nielsen, Nestlé, and Pilot Travel Centers, the journey will be exciting for students, faculty, and businesses.

For more information on The University of Tennessee MBA program please visit http://mba.utk.edu or contact Amy Cathey, director, at acathey@utk.edu or 865-974-5033.  For information on the University of Tennessee Shopper Marketing Forum, visit http://shoppermarketing.utk.edu or contact Dan Flint, director, at dflint@utk.edu.


Posted: 10/28/2011

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