CityU marketing students earn corporate acclaim

Zoey Tsang

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Seven teams of marketing students from the City University of Hong Kong (CityU) received the Student Marketing Consultancy Projects Awards on 10 January at a presentation ceremony. They are among the 95 final year students from the Department of Marketing who conducted marketing research and delivered proposals for 10 brands from seven local and international corporations. The students completed their projects between September and December 2007.

Officiating guests of the ceremony included Professor David Tong Shuk-yin, Deputy President of CityU; Professor Wei Kwok-kee, Dean of the Faculty of Business; Professor Kenneth Chan Shun-yuen, Associate Dean of the Faculty of Business; Professor Zhou Nan, Head of the Department of Marketing, as well as representatives from participating corporations. They all commended the students’ excellent creativity in developing high quality proposals for the corporations.

“Student Marketing Consultancy Projects is one of the best demonstrations of all-round education,” Professor Tong said. “Started in 1995, the projects have been devoted to enhancing closer partnerships between the University and the business sector.”

“Most importantly, the projects demonstrated that CityU, through its professional education, has nurtured high-quality students for the industry,” Professor Tong added.

Professor Wei said that without the support of the participating companies, the students would never have had the opportunity to work with them, learn from them and be trained into the young professionals they were today.

“I am surprised at the enormous effort, commitment and passion each student has put into the projects over the past few months. Undoubtedly, the teams have achieved a high level of synergy and group cohesiveness during the projects,” Professor Wei said. “I believe it will enable them to overcome any difficulties they may encounter in their future careers and present their best face to any potential employers.”

The participating companies are Akos Advanced Technology Limited (member company of Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks); Bank of Communications Co. Ltd, Hong Kong Branch; Coca-Cola China Limited; Everplant Technology Limited (member company of Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks); General Mills Hong Kong; iDS Marketing, Li & Fung Group; Wellcome and Wilson Communications Limited.

The participating companies were very impressed with the highly professional performance of the students. They agreed the suggestions made by the students were constructive and could be referred to in future decision-making.

Mr Alex Tham Koy-siong, teaching fellow, and Ms Daisy Lee Suet-mui, lecturer of the Department of Marketing, are supervisors of the project. They praised the high standard of the marketing plans.

“The quality of work delivered by the students is comparable to those made by international marketing research organisations,” Daisy said. “The project clearly demonstrates CityU’s emphasis on encouraging students to put theory into practice.”

Daisy also added that the students were very excited when they knew their proposals were being accepted by the corporations and would be launched into the market within the next few months.

The 14 teams from the total of 95 students worked strenuously for four months on market research and surveys. In addition to focus groups and questionnaires, they also visited stores to observe consumer behaviour. Some students took the initiative of posing as customers to gain a better understanding of service standards and to collect customer information. They gauged the effects of the store environment, location and service quality on consumers’ motivations.

Carrie Lui Ka-wai was one of the participating students. She thought the project was akin to an intensive training camp. She and her team mates had to apply what they learnt while constructing the proposal. They met the management and gained a first-hand insight into the corporation’s needs. A number of research activities were completed afterwards and a marketing report compiled. Carrie and her teammates presented their findings and suggestions to the management and their project supervisor as if they were actual professional consultants.

“It’s a valuable real-life business experience to us,” Carrie said. “Through the research process, we gained a deep understanding of various issues of business development and how they should be planned and resolved.”

In addition to this project, Carrie said the department also hosted many other activities for the students, including business leader forums and seminars. The activities provided opportunities for students to meet outstanding business professionals and learn from their business experience.

Thirty CityU students who earlier won six awards in the Young Marketing Communicators Awards organised by the Hong Kong Institute of Marketing (HKIM), were also credited at the ceremony by Ms Dora Lee, Chairperson of Corporate Communications Committee of HKIM.

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