GMSC SERIES: Laurie Manning – Presentation Day!

The last phase of the GMSC process consists of two large deliverables: report and presentation. The report is a 50-page document plus appendices that details the journey and process that we took to come up with our final recommendation and walks the client through the recommendation, implementation, and next steps. The PowerPoint presentation is a slide deck of about 40 main slides and additional appendix slides. The actual presentation has to be completed in 30 minutes and there is another 30 minutes for questions. Typically, each GMSC team presents to their client, to the leadership team for a grade, and on Presentation Day for marketing professionals from the Atlanta area.

In order to complete these deliverables, my team had to do a thorough analysis of the survey data that we received from over 1,000 respondents. We did most of the analysis using Excel and the software extension, Excel Stat. We created pivot tables, ran descriptive statistics, conducted cluster analysis, and put together charts and graphs in order to draw conclusions from the data. We were able to extract ideas for a recommendation as well as identify an ideal customer segment for our client. Once we had this data, we sat in a room for hours to develop three recommendation ideas that we believed would satisfy our client. Next, we created a new survey to test our recommendation ideas and identify the best one based on the survey responses and our research and analysis.

The initial pitch is a 6 to 7 slide PowerPoint deck stating your recommendation and next steps and is used to vent the recommendation by our professor and outside marketing professionals. GMSC brings in 3 to 4 individuals who work in the marketing and consulting industries to watch and critique the initial pitches. We are given feedback to improve and finalize our recommendation. This really helped my team to solidify the recommendation and understand what we had not previously thought about and where we needed to do more research or ask additional questions of our client. We ran our ideas by our client to get buy-in and make sure that we were all on the same page. Our client meeting was incredible and we were ready to move forward.

Once our final recommendation was nailed down, we put pen to paper to get our report started. Before we left for our Mid-Semester Module in February, I created an outline of the paper and assigned each member of the team a portion of the report to own. Each team member created bullets for all of the topics that they were going to speak to in their sections. The secondary paper lead and I read these and gave feedback. Then we all proceeded to completely write-out our sections, so that I could read and edit a whole paper. I was able to identify pieces that were missing and come up with ideas for graphics and pictures to bring the words to life. The weekend before the paper was due was a very long one. We were making last minute changes to our recommendation and wanted to improve the way that were presenting our quantitative findings. My team was incredible and stay on campus to help pull the final pieces together. It was extremely helpful that we had that we had them there to support, even though they did not have leadership responsibilities for the report. One of the days we almost spent 14 hours together working. As a result, we have a report (115 pages in total) that we are so proud of and know that it will bring value to our client.

The final step in this process is the presentation. By the time we gave our presentation to our client, we were on version 26 of our PowerPoint slides. We have all become masters in PowerPoint and could teach anyone the little short cuts that we have learned. Our version 25 and 26 were night and day because we received helpful feedback from Molly Epstein, Professor of Communication at Goizueta. We even created a video for our presentation that really helped energize the team. Our presentation to the client went better than we had hoped, they loved our ideas and want to work to implement them. We presented to 15 individuals from the organization including the CEO and VP of Marketing. Our next presentation was to Professor Shah and the GMSC leadership team. We were excited to show them what we had come up with and get their feedback to improve for the competition, Presentation Day. They were impressed with our work and had very constructive feedback that we used to perfect our PowerPoint and our delivery. Our final presentation will be May 7th in front of our client, GMSC leadership, marketing professionals, and MBA volunteers. We look forward to that experience and networking opportunity.

GMSC has been a great experience for me and has lived up to all that I heard about it before attending Goizueta. I have grown as a team member and a leader, and a marketer. This course teaches you how to work in overwhelming situations- strict deadlines, multiple deliverables each work, client expectations, and competing priorities. Your team truly becomes family over this semester. We have literally spent every day with each other since January and learned how to bring the best out of each other. I know that we will continue to support each other through this MBA journey and I look forward to many more accomplishments  from my team members.

My GMSC Team celebrating completing our graded presentation on a beautiful day in Atlanta.

My GMSC Team celebrating completing our graded presentation on a beautiful day in Atlanta.