Student consultants win high praise

Karen Lai

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Fifteen groups of City University final-year marketing students were commended for their consultancy work at an Awards Presentation Ceremony held in the Wei Hing Theatre on 9 January.

Students on the Advanced Marketing Seminar course provided consultancy services for leading companies including the Pricerite Group, Cosmos Global, Wellcome and 7-Eleven between September and November last year. Services included gathering information, conducting surveys, and developing marketing strategies for implementation.

"When we look for good marketing research, we seek help from universities. CityU's students gave an excellent performance in their consultancy projects and we are making use of their research findings," said Mr Douglas J T Brown, Marketing Director of Wellcome, a local supermarket chain. This is the fourth year Wellcome has been a client of CityU. This year students were asked to focus on analyzing how consumers perceive and use Wellcome's private label "First Choice", as well as conducting research on the format of its new stores.

"We organized a focus group to gauge customers' opinion on the taste, packaging, and the way such products were shelved," said Mr Marco Cheng, a student from the Champion Team which carried out the "First Choice" analyses.

"The team had to complete the project, from brainstorming to final presentation, within 13 weeks. Compared with other course projects, this is more challenging but we find it very rewarding, especially for the practical experience we gained from our client company," said Ms Stella Sun and Ms Keris Poon, the other team members.

"The experience was equally enlightening and fruitful for us," said Mr Felix Miao, Chief Executive Officer of Cosmos Global. CityU's students helped the company build their skin care product brand by studying the product mix and brand-building strategies, as well as developing direct sales system for the products. "As a brand management company, we need creative solutions to reach our targets. The students demonstrated their abilities in handling real-life assignments," he said.

Since 1995, the Advanced Marketing Seminar course has invited over 20 client companies to join the marketing consultancy project. Final-year students have opportunities to apply the business knowledge and tools they acquired to formulate marketing strategies for the real world. "We have a list of loyal clients, which shows that they are satisfied with our students' performance," said Mr Alex Tham, programme leader of BBA (Hons) Marketing and winner of a Teaching Excellence Award 2001-02. "The course also provides students with opportunities to solve conflicts they encountered in real-life projects and develop interpersonal skills," he said.



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