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Students Solve Real-World Marketing Challenges During BrandWeek

Nov 22, 2019
Over the course of three days, students worked on marketing challenges for four different companies, including Mars PetCare

Over fall break, Master of Marketing students and MBA candidates with an interest in marketing and/or brand management participate in BrandWeek, a three-day series of marketing challenges issued by clients. Teams are given a challenge and have anywhere between a few hours or days to come up with a plan and presentation for their client. Below, three MBAs reflect on their BrandWeek experiences this year.

M’Kenzie Steel (MBA’21)

M’Kenzie Steel

During the fall break, we were offered a chance to compete in BrandWeek. This three-day workshop challenged our creative and analytical skills in real-world scenarios. Students from the MBA and Master of Marketing programs were randomly organized into teams of 7-8 students. Each day, we were presented with marketing challenges from companies in the Nashville area, including Mars Petcare, The Graduate Hotel, Bearded Iris, and Franklin Distillery. The industries ranged from large CPG companies to hospitality to local alcohol brands.

The company would present their unique marketing problem(s), then we would ask relevant questions and break out to our smaller groups. Once we broke out into smaller groups, we were tasked with determining the cause of the problem, figuring out a solution, creating a presentation, and then presenting in front of the brand’s representatives. This structure forced us to think creatively and fast. Once we presented in front of the judges, the brand representatives would select winners and give every team immediate feedback. There is not another time in your career where you will get this type of access to such a wide range of companies, present your unique ideas to them, and then receive direct and applicable feedback.

Overall, this was a great experience to work directly with companies that are just starting and companies with established brand recognition. It was also an opportunity for me to strengthen my leadership skills as well as my creative skills in a fast-paced setting. I am especially thankful to BrandWeek because I am now a fan of the Homestyle craft beer from the local Nashville brewery, Bearded Iris! —M’Kenzie Steel

Casey Wood (MBA’21)

Casey Wood

Prior to attending Owen for my MBA, I had extensive experience in operations with some cross-departmental projects in marketing. It was during those projects that I discovered a passion that pushed me to attend graduate school. I have been focused on progressing my marketing career ever since, and the single most significant experience that stands out above all others is BrandWeek.

The program was incredibly intellectually stimulating, as it introduced us to real-world companies that needed creative solutions to the issues they faced. The groups were integrated between MBA and Master of Marketing students, which provided a diverse learning environment. This also allowed our different perspectives to contribute to the ultimate goal of providing innovative solutions to the problems facing a variety of brands.

Most importantly, the projects make the education we receive here at Owen truly come alive – we are able to apply the foundations and frameworks we have learned about in class to these business issues. It was this transition from hypothetical to concrete that I found most thought-provoking and powerful. Furthermore, the hands-on experience that BrandWeek provided was extremely valuable to me, as someone who is looking to switch careers and enter a new domain. As I embark on my new career path, I feel that the practical knowledge I gained during the cases provided a new chapter to weave into my personal narrative, with BrandWeek as a focal point.

Overall, because of BrandWeek I feel more confident in my abilities and understanding of marketing and look forward to applying them to both academics here at Owen and in professional settings during my career. I highly suggest anyone interested in marketing take the time and immerse themselves in this extremely useful experience. —Casey Wood

Tia Secasiu (MBA’21)

Tia Secasiu

Brand Week is a great opportunity to put yourself in the shoes of a marketer. Since I was in product development before coming to Owen, it was my first time putting on the marketing hat, and the BrandWeek cases were an interesting way to do it.

Throughout the week, we were divided into teams of MBAs and Master of Marketing students, and we worked on one big marketing case for Mars Petcare as well as a few other mini cases each day. Every day, local businesses around greater Nashville came to present their marketing puzzles. Each team would work on their ideas, and we would all present to the other teams as well as the businesses. Not only were there plenty of opportunities to hone your teamwork skills, but getting to watch other teams present their ideas provided an opportunity to see how other people thought through the same problems.

Working with a company as established as Mars on a greater marketing plan as well as some smaller local companies with more specific focus provided a great insight into the role of a marketer. BrandWeek was a fast-paced, fun way to practice solving marketing puzzles and working in cross-functional teams. —Tia Secasiu

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