Two MBA student teams in marketing competition final

Two teams of Strathclyde Business School MBA students are among the five finalist teams of the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s (CIM) inaugural postgraduate competition entitled "The Challenge".

The teams have been shortlisted in the Scotland-wide competition which is designed to recognise and reward the marketing talent amongst postgraduate students.

The Nevis Strathclyders, consisting of Ujjwal Kumar, Monish Sareen and Shivangam Vats, and the Royal Challengers, comprising Bhavika Rathore and Pranav, will be competing in a face-to-face pitching final in Glasgow on June 21 alongside teams from Glasgow and Heriot-Watt universities. Both teams have Thomas McAlinden of the Department of Marketing as their tutor.

The competition is sponsored by Highland Park single malt Scotch Whisky, a multi award-winning luxury range of whiskies, crafted at the Highland Park distillery in Kirkwall, Orkney since 1798. Entrants were challenged with recommending a brand partnership to reinforce Highland Park’s ‘A Wild Harmony’ positioning and credentials as a super-premium brand. Teams were also challenged to outline how the proposed brands would work together to engage, inspire, and excite Highland Park’s consumer target audience.

Winners of the competition will be conferred the title of ‘Masters of their Marketing Career’ by the Chartered Institute of Marketing. They will also be invited on an all-expenses paid day trip to Orkney, where Highland Park is based, with a distillery tour and team lunch. A one-year CIM membership for each team member and a two-hour individual mentoring session by a senior marketer is also part of the winning prize.

Monish Sareen on behalf of the Nevis-Strathclyders said, ""Our journey in The Challenge marketing competition has been nothing short of transformative. It has pushed us to our limits, tested our creativity, and strengthened our bond as a team. The countless hours of hard work and dedication from each team member, have fuelled our growth and success. We are proud of how far we've come and excited to showcase our skills in the final stage. The Challenge has been a remarkable platform for us to learn, connect, and demonstrate our marketing prowess. We are grateful for this opportunity and ready to leave a lasting impression on the marketing world on June 21."

Pranav of the Royal Challengers said, "Bhavika and I are so elated to have moved into the finals of the competition! Both of us are MBA students with backgrounds in operations and procurement and we hadn't much prior experience in marketing. Nonetheless our interest in marketing was piqued during our course and we decided to participate in this inaugural Challenge open to all postgraduate students across Scotland. The fact that the competition was based on providing a suitable brand collaboration for Highland Park Whisky also generated great interest in us as this is one of the unique identities attached to Scotland. We feel we are very lucky to have been given this opportunity to participate in the challenge and we are very thankful to Strathclyde Business School and specifically our mentor Thomas Macalinden for guiding us in this endeavour. We hope to win this competition and bring more accolades to our esteemed institution"

Paul Condron, Brand Director at Highland Park said, The shortlisted teams have done incredibly well to make it to this point in the competition, the quality of the teams going into the final is amazing. It has been inspiring to see so many postgraduate students from across Scotland display such talent and enthusiasm for the task at hand. I am excited to see which team is crowned ‘Masters of their Marketing Career’."

Ellie Murphy, Chair of the CIM Scotland Committee, added, Congratulations to all the shortlisted teams who have worked extremely hard on their proposals. The Challenge was created to offer postgraduate students in Scotland the opportunity to highlight their knowledge of marketing in a real-life brief. We have seen a profound knowledge of marketing from all the entrants and have been impressed by the innovative ideas presented. I am excited to see the final presentations of our shortlisted teams and I am sure that every single one of the team members will go on to do amazing things”.


Published: 15 June 2023

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