2011 GMSC Presentation Day
First-year MBA students present to judges as part of the 20th "presentation day" for the Goizueta Marketing Strategy Consultancy. PHOTO: Tony Brenner

For two decades MBA students at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School have worked with top companies on real-world problems. The Goizueta Marketing Strategy Consultancy (GMSC) wrote a new chapter in its history May 5, 2011 with a round of guest speakers, presentations and professional judging.

Six teams of first-year MBA candidates went head-to-head in the 20th Anniversary GMSC Presentation Day Case Competition.  For the past semester, teams worked to help clients solve a marketing strategy challenge.  Competing teams presented findings and recommendations to a panel of Atlanta-area marketing, finance, and consulting executives.

Clients paid a fee to work with a team of MBA students eager to apply professional, life and classroom experience to an assigned problem. Students each spent approximately 10 hours per week to develop a 35-50 page final report including a situational overview, an industry and competitor analysis, findings from secondary and primary research, strategic and tactical recommendations, financial justifications and implementation plans.

More than 150 judges, many Goizueta alumni, graded student presentations.

“GMSC is the flagship course for the marketing area and, I would argue, Goizeuta Business School,” said Doug Bowman, marketing professor and Senior Associate Dean of External Relations.

Ted Woehrle
Ted Woehrle, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Newell Rubbermaid, gave the keynote address for judges, describing the transformation in one of the companies many brands -- Goody. Woehrle discussed purpose-driven brands. The driving force behind Goody was building confidence -- for consumers and employees. "With a purpose-inspired organization I think you get better results," he said. PHOTO: Tony Brenner

Marketing professor Reshma Shah, GMSC’s advisor, echoed the importance of live projects in the curriculum saying education is in the midst of a paradigm shift.  Students interact in real-time and the coursework must be increasingly relevant and collaborative. She met with teams weekly through the semester to guide their thinking and their approach to problem solving.

Larry Benveniste, Dean of Goizueta Business School, said GMSC is one of the best examples of how the school teaches “structured ambiguity” and prepares students for a world of increasingly complex problems.

“GMSC provides students an opportunity to truly experience the dynamics of consulting allowing them to be more competitive during the internship and full-time job search,” said Danielle Miller, Managing Director of the 2011 GMSC competition and a former team member. “While GMSC utilizes a proven problem-solving structure, students have the freedom to push the envelope to develop solutions for their clients.  Having an energetic, rigorous team of students looking at marketing challenges provides companies a fresh perspective.”

The team of Sandra Dube, Fei Meng, Richard Vincent, Cameron Blume, Tom Rittle, Mike Farrell and Meghan Hawthorne finished in first place for their work with a global entertainment and amusement park company to develop a strategy to enhance its loyalty rewards program.

The first runner-up team worked with a Georgia company – Mohawk Industries. Those students – Mark Leutzinger, Kevin Park, Griffin Fulmer, Sheena Nix, Ty Heath and Jennifer McNeil – worked with the Mohawk Home Division on a new marketing strategy for its Karastan brand. The team also received the Best Final Recommendation Paper award.

“It has been an overwhelming incredible experience,” said Bill Kilbride of Mohawk Industries a first-year client. Kilbride said he felt like a partner in the process and was pleased he decided to work with Goizueta — a renowned business school just an hour away from his office.

Team Anisa International was first runner-up for Best Paper.  Members include Jordan Enoch, Pallavi Jaishankar, Jessica Talpos, Sid Sharma, Patrick Crowley and Shobit Arora.

Heath was also presented the 2011 GMSC Outstanding Team Member Award while Dube — next year’s managing director — won the 2011 GMSC Outstanding Academic Performance Award.  Jerome Stickland, a second year MBA candidate and team guide, was awarded the Outstanding Team Guide Award for his guidance and mentorship. Varina Lin, also a second-year MBA, won Outstanding Teacher Assistant.

RELATED VIDEO: GMSC Celebrates 20 Years

What are your memories of GMSC? Are you a former student or client? Share your thoughts in the comments below and let’s get a conversation going!