THE SECOND YEAR SCENE : GMSC Series – Management Practice in Practice

Each spring semester 42 full-time Goizueta Business School students participate in the Management Practice elective, Goizueta Marketing Strategy Consultancy (GMSC). GMSC pairs student teams with corporate clients to solve pressing business challenges.  The course culminates in a case competition judged by marketing and consulting leaders from across the country. The course is taught by Dr. Reshma H. Shah, Assistant Professor in the area of Marketing.  This is the first post in a series about the experiential learning experience at Goizueta from one of the six team’s perspective about defining the problem.

After a rejuvenating winter break post our first semester we were back for more! The first week of GMSC was off and our team was ready to go. We attended a GMSC boot camp the weekend before the spring semester officially began to familiarize ourselves with our clients and industry, our team, and the consulting process. We also spent considerable time over the holiday break doing an Industry and Competitive Position report for our client, incorporating what we have learned in our marketing and strategy coursework.

Our client is looking to grow sales of specific product lines. The project is focused on the segmentation, targeting, and positioning of our brand, specifically with “below-the-line” marketing. There is a lot of room for creativity, which is exciting and a little scary for some of us who may not cite creativity as a strong suit. Nevertheless, we are ready to take on the challenge!

After boot camp, we had our first GMSC academic session, where a consultant from Accenture spoke to us about how to structure the problem. Surprisingly, this part of the consulting process takes a lot of work; we went through several brainstorm sessions and iterations of our Problem Definition Worksheet with our team, our team guide, Professor Shah, and our client before everyone was happy with our work. It was no walk in the park, leaving us at times feeling that there was never going be a final draft! But we plowed through as a team and eventually got there. Ultimately, this part of the class taught us that understanding the problem and asking the right questions is important, especially when creating a specific strategy for our secondary research.

During this process we also had to make certain assumptions on what is in scope and out of scope for our project, which we realized is always good to confirm with the client. We initially assumed that “above-the-line” marketing tactics were out of the question based on our client’s proposal, but they later stated that we can make these types of recommendations if we think that is the way to go. Our client is awesome to give us that flexibility! Professor Shah always reminds us to ask the question, “What does good work look like to our client?” and to go out and do that work.