ICBA’s educational institutes offer a comprehensive, immersive examination of pressing industry topics. Through a combination of professional development lectures, case studies, and collaborative learning, our students gain an in-depth understanding of the issues facing college stores and leave with knowledge that can immediately be put into action. ICBA Institutes are held in person in the days leading up to our annual Conference.

Gain a practical understanding of the shifting landscape of today’s college store

Develop skills to help you make better-informed business decisions

Design well-informed strategies that address the needs of today’s students

Re-define the parameters of success


ICBA Institutes are typically held in the days preceding the ICBA Annual Conference. At our ICBA Conference in February, 2023 in Las Vegas, we will be hosting a General Merchandise Buying Institute - save the date and watch for updates!


The ICBA General Merchandise Buyers Institute (GMBI) features 9+ hours of intense programming on multiple aspects of General Merchandise buying, including assortment planning, financial planning, vendor relations, visual merchandising, marketing, pricing strategies, and more.

Key Modules: 

  • Philosophies of Total Merchandise Management

  • Principles of Financial Analysis & Inventory Management

  • Key Performance Indicators & Business Drivers

  • The Psychology of Price

  • Visual Merchandising Tips, Strategies, & Techniques

  • Building Healthy Supplier/Retailer Partnerships

  • Sending the Right Messages to Your Customers

The ICBA Visual Merchandising Institute offers powerful, real-life content focused on practical application of Visual Merchandising techniques. The program consists of a series of modules and alternates between presentations and hands-on workshops. Students learn the important role Virtual Merchandising plays as “secret salesperson,” reinforcing the fundamentals of traditional visual merchandising, while incorporating new digital marketing concepts, technologies, and methodologies.

Key Modules: 

  • Elements of Visual Merchandising

  • Assortment Planning

  • Marketing/Branding Techniques

  • Customer Engagement

The ICBA Course Materials Institute focuses on providing a practical understanding of the changing course materials landscape, developing new skill sets, and pragmatically re-defining the parameters of success. The Course Materials Institute features the content that is most relevant to today’s Course Materials buyer/manager as presented by industry experts.

Key Modules: 

  • Financial and Operational KPIs

  • Sourcing Strategies and Options

  • Publisher and Wholesaler Relations

  • Defining the “Right” Rental Program

  • The Customer Experience

  • Campus and Faculty Relations

The ICBA Apparel Institute provides a comprehensive educational experience for Apparel Buyers at all skill levels. Featuring over 15 hours of content, workshops, and case studies, the Apparel Institute focuses on what Buyers need to know to Strengthen and Enhance their professional development, merchant skills, and overall operation.

Key Modules: 

  • Financial Management

  • Assortment Management

  • Visual Merchandising

  • Vendor Relations

  • Marketing

  • eCommerce