Marketing Lab's First Case Competition Gives Back to Students
PROVO, Utah – Jan 28, 2020 – The holiday season is a season for giving, and, during the recent holiday season, BYU Marriott’s Marketing Lab found a way to give marketing and first-year MBA students an opportunity for experiential learning and cash prizes with the lab’s first-ever case competition.
The case competition was co-sponsored by BYU Marriott’s Marketing Lab and eBay. eBay’s global head of insights, Thomas Walker, and the Marketing Lab’s director and marketing associate professor, Matt Madden, worked together to make the competition a reality.
The case competition focused on developing solutions to help eBay appeal to a younger generation of buyers. The first-place team, named #myebay, included two first-year MBA students—Ian Miller, who is from Vancouver, Washington, and Ryan Brown, who is from Shelby, Michigan—and two undergraduate marketing students—Raquel DeMordaunt, a junior from Boise, Idaho, and Natalie Tate, a senior from Rancho Santa Margarita, California.
The #myebay team recommended changes to eBay’s app and website that emphasized a niche where the corporation could fit within the e-commerce market by combining high product availability with high “scroll-ability,” or ease of navigating through products presented on a company’s online platform. Students drew on their own personal experiences to identify eBay’s problem and develop a solution.
“I think our ideas for the application came as we looked at eBay’s competitors,” says Brown. “We kind of spun some ideas out where we asked, ‘Where are we buying products ourselves?’ None of us had bought on eBay in a long time, so we kind of dug into the question: ‘Why haven't we shopped on eBay?’”
Teams in the case competition consisted of first-year MBA students and students in the marketing program, which reflects the combination of MBA and marketing student employees found in the lab. “The BYU Marriott Marketing Lab experience combines undergrads working with MBA students,” says Madden. “The students doing the case competition were interested in the Marketing Lab, so we were trying to give them a taste of what it’s like to work on a client problem in the Marketing Lab environment.”
Team members of #myebay note that the competition’s combination of undergraduate marketing students with MBA students worked well for them. “Everybody on our team found their little niche and just kept going,” says Miller. “In professional marketing situations, we’ll have to be able to work as a team no matter where we are.”
The case competition also served as an effective example of the type of work student employees in the Marketing Lab do. In the lab, student employees work with various mentors and faculty to deliver solutions for actual, paying clients, ranging from Baskin-Robbins to Adobe. The case competition allowed the lab to give back to students with cash prizes and gave students a chance to work with a real client. “The reason we wanted to do the case competition was to provide an experiential learning opportunity and give back to the students, particularly marketing students,” says Marketing Lab president Madeline Jacobs.
For DeMordaunt, the case competition was also a chance to apply what she has learned in the marketing program. “My classes definitely prepared me to participate in the case competition,” says DeMordaunt. “I was able to apply what I had learned in my classes, and I was also able to grow and learn as I worked with my teammates.”
For students competing, having an opportunity to experience what the Marketing Lab offers was a helpful exercise. “While we were doing the competition, I kept thinking, ‘This is what I'm going to do in my future job,’” says DeMordaunt. “I'm going to work with people I probably don't know anything about, and we're going to have to sit down and create something that is profitable in the end.”
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Natalia Green