MBA students' success in CIM marketing competition

Two Strathclyde MBA teams who successfully reached the final of the CIM The Challenge marketing competition have now taken first and third place following a competitive face-to-face pitching final on June 21.

The Chartered Institute of Marketing's (CIM) inaugural postgraduate competition - entitled The Challenge - was designed to recognise and reward the marketing talent amongst postgraduate students and the competition was open to teams across Scotland. 

The "Royal Challenges' team - comprising Pranav and Bhavika Rathore - took first place in the competition, while "Team Nevis" - Monish Sareen and Ujjwal Kumar - were placed third. Unfortunately Shivangam Vats who was a member of Team Nevis had to withdraw from the competition and didn't feature in the final.

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.

SBS tutor Thomas McAlinden of the Department of Marketing said, "This is an amazing achievement. Not only did our students win The Challenge - a postgraduate Marketing Competition which was open to all Universities and students in Scotland studying Business as well as those undertaking the CIM Professional Marketing qualifications - we had two teams in the top three competing against teams from University of Glasgow and Heriot Watt who made up the final five teams.

"I'm delighted that our two Strathclyde teams both placed in the top three. It's testament to their Marketing knowledge and the dedication and hard work they put into this competition that they did so well. I couldn't be any prouder seeing all five students put their knowledge into practice and reap the success of that."

First place team member Bhavika said, "Pranav and I have worked diligently on this project, and it has truly been a journey of learning where we have applied all our MBA knowledge and skills. This experience has boosted my confidence significantly. We are sincerely grateful to SBS for providing us with this opportunity and we extend our heartfelt appreciation to Thomas McAlinden for his invaluable guidance and mentorship. His feedback played a pivotal role in our competition win. Furthermore, presenting our ideas and thoughts in front of the directors and managers of Edrington Group and CIM was an entirely unique experience. We are immensely proud of what we have accomplished and are filled with excitement for the future possibilities that lie ahead."

Fellow team member Pranav added, "I am so happy and proud of our work! Bhavika and I have been working on this for the past eight months and it gives me immense pleasure to see our hard work come to fruition. This experience has given me the boost and confidence that my passion for marketing can actually result in something not only tangible but highly appreciated by leaders of the industry. I would once again like to thank Strathclyde Business School for giving us the opportunity to showcase our skills at such a professional platform as of CIM and would love to extend special thanks to Thomas McAlinden for his meticulous guidance. Now that we have accomplished this we are also very excited to see what the future holds for us!"

Third place winner Ujjwal said, "Securing third place in a competition as demanding as the CIM Challenge is a significant milestone for us. It reinforces our commitment to academic excellence and practical application of knowledge."

Team mate Monish added, "Against fierce competition, we secured an impressive third-place finish, showcasing our unwavering dedication, innovative thinking, and creative solutions. Our accomplishment in the CIM Challenge not only speaks volumes about our ability to deliver results, but it also underscores our commitment to excellence."

The first placed team were conferred the title of "Masters of their Marketing Career" by CIM and will enjoy a day trip to Orkney for a distillery tour and lunch, all courtesy of Highland Park, as well as one-year complimentary CIM membership for each team member and two hours of individual mentoring by a senior marketer.

The third placed team each receive a bottle of whisky, one-year complimentary CIM membership for each team member and two hours of individual mentoring by a senior marketer.

Photograph (courtesy of CIM's Maureen Wincott) shows: Bhavika (centre left) and Pranav (centre right) in first photograph and Monish Sareen (centre left) and Ujjwal Kumar (centre right) in second photograph.

Published: 27 June 2023

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