Case studies


Former delegates talk about their experiences and the benefits of attending OSS Retail

Michelle Ward

Michelle Wald - Category Business Director - Nike iD - Nike EMEA - OSS Masters

Category Business Director, Nike iD

I went into the Masters with the objective to increase my management skills to help nurture the most out of my team. It was great meeting new people, learning from their experiences and how they approach various situations, especially related to people management.

If I was to sum up my experience of the Masters I think it’s biggest benefit for me was the positive impact on my leadership skills, relationship building skills and overall way of thinking. However the exercises on financial management and developing future strategies were very interesting and I can definitely see the merit for individuals with a high level of responsibility in their careers whose decisions effect the business.Since the Masters I have unfortunately had to deal with an underperforming team member and was able to manage the situation with help from skills I developed at the Masters. I have since hired a talented individual in their place, and am now happily managing a high performing team. I continue to coach and develop each of them. The Masters renewed my confidence to ‘manage with courage’ and do what’s right for the business and the people.

The Masters ranks highly in personal development programmes I have attended and the ideas generated have really helped me, my team and my organisations commerciality.

Ashley Pankhurst
Allens of Olney, General ManagerAshley Pankhurst - General Manager - Allens of Olney - OSS Masters - retailTRUST scholar

I consider myself incredibly lucky to have been awarded a Scholarship to attend the Masters. If you are thinking of applying for a Scholarship - DO IT!

I also wanted to develop my leadership and people management skills and, in turn, enable myself to support the personal development of members of the team.My main objective for applying for a scholarship to OSS was to assist me in gaining knowledge in order to undertake an objective review of the business, to identify any weaknesses, opportunities to increase profitability and develop strategies for the future long-term viability. I have already started looking in detail at how the company’s “brand” is presented to the potential customer.

The opportunity to mix with other retailers from many backgrounds really opened my eyes to fact that we all share similar problems. I also found it an eye-opener that some people involved within larger businesses, whilst being extremely good at their job, didn’t have all the skills I hold, so it’s really helped my confidence in my ability.

It was an intense, full-on experience with lasting benefits, not just for my employer, but also for me. I am grateful to retailTRUST in awarding me this scholarship to attend the OSS as it has afforded me the fantastic opportunity to expand my knowledge and gain vital insights for moving forward which were otherwise unattainable.

Emma MarlowEmma Marlow - Managing Director - Hearts and Minds UK Ltd - OSS Masters
Hearts & Minds Ltd. - Pandora Jewellery, Managing Director

I heard about the Masters programme after attending the Academy. It was a fantastic experience and really helped bring out many skills I had overlooked that are integral to the successful management of my business. The Masters was the next natural step. The opportunity to attend the Masters on a scholarship was a no brain-er. As an independent retailer I have to justify the cost and time out of the company, and the benefits of attending on a scholarship really help put any doubts to rest.

My objectives were to gain confidence, broaden my knowledge of the current global retail sector and network with like minded retailers. The programme really helped me achieve these objectives. It took me out of my comfort zone but allowed me to analyse other successful businesses and areas of retail that I don’t come up against in the ordinary day-to-day. The guest speakers were extremely influential and incredibly well rounded in their scope of retail and fantastic in how they imparted their knowledge to the group. I genuinely enjoyed every aspect of the programme, each section was interesting and allowed me to build insights to take back to my company.The scholarship had a very easy application process and the team at OSS were there to help me out with any questions I had along the way. The conference call helped as made it easier to fit into my schedule.

I quickly found out from networking with other retailers, a lot of my challenges were their challenges, and vice-versa. Similarly with opportunities. Just having another person to share a common ground was fantastic and I’ve built up a network of peers I can go to now the School has finished. But it’s not just about the people. We covered some excellent theory and technical areas. The finance day really helped me get to grips with some important information.

I would endorse the program purely because even when you think you've got it all figured out, there is always another opinion, another experience, another lesson learnt that you can apply to your own knowledge and create a whole new way of thinking. Applying for the scholarship was the best thing I ever did because I had absolutely nothing to lose. Working within a start- up company, just because I don’t  have the budget, doesn't mean that I can’t still learn and the scholarship gave me the opportunity to work with larger retailers and more experienced people to take back to my day-to-day.

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