Students Enhance Marketing Strategy with Mondelēz International Challenge

Pictured above from left to right – Duquesne Students and Mondelēz Team: Nathanyel Kelty (B’19); Jonathan Borish (B’19); Tara Hieminga, Global PPOS Manager, Instore Activation; Ryan Kincaid (B’19); Catherine Scott, Global Sales Capability Lead; Mike Sukitch, Former Global VP, Category Planning& Activation; Ryan Luchs, Chair, Management and Marketing Department, Palumbo-Donahue School of Business; Jake Smith, Global Director, Instore Activation; Courtney R. Meagher (B’19); Laura Herald (B’19)

Real-world learning is one of the key components in the marketing major at Duquesne.  By giving students the opportunity to work on semester-long projects for client firms with important marketing challenges, they develop their skills in analyzing business models, assessing market entry options and making strategic marketing recommendations–all while earning course credit.

Mondelēz International Partners with Duquesne

For example, Dr. Ryan Luchs, Associate Professor of Marketing and Chair of the Management and Marketing Department, embedded a “Marketing Challenge” in one of his fall courses.  When students walked into Ryan’s classroom, it was hard to miss a huge display of Oreo Cookies, Toblerone Chocolates, Sour Patch Kids, Cadbury Bars, Dentyne Gum and many other delicious snacks for them to enjoy.  While the snacks added a nice touch and a spark of curiosity to the class, they were actually serving a strategic objective.

More specifically, four executives from Mondelēz International, a $26 billion dollar snack food company with products sold in approximately 160 countries, presented a series of challenges for students in Ryan’s class.  The Mondelēz team flew in from New Jersey to share their valuable experiences with students and provide a briefing on the parameters of a challenging, real-world consulting project.

“The Mondelēz competition gave me the opportunity to grow personally and professionally.  It was great to have Jake Smith, Director of Global Sales Instore Activation at Mondelēz International, mentor us throughout the process.  The competition was so rewarding and fun.”

Laura Herald, B’19

Tackling the Challenge

Mondelēz International actually presented several challenges to students and asked them to develop strategic marketing solutions based on scalable and innovative ideas.  In particular, executives were looking for mobile device solutions that would engage potential customers in a way that enhanced the in-store retail experience with Mondelēz products.

In tackling this important project, students were formed into teams to do research and develop their ideas, mentored by a Mondelēz executive who provided feedback and guidance over the course of the semester.  As they worked toward a solution, insights from the company’s sales data and observations from store visits were invaluable.

Toward the end of the term, all student teams presented their plans to internal faculty judges who selected three finalists.  The three finalists then presented their marketing ideas and solutions to the Mondelēz team.

“The Mondelēz competition was an impactful and wonderful experience for me. Aside from learning more about the company and how to market products, what marketing segments to use, and how to capture a customer’s eye, I learned a lot about myself.

I acquired more of an understanding of professionalism in the business world, how to present myself and get a direct point across, and ultimately gain confidence when speaking and presenting.  Being able to work as a team and use everyone’s unique ideas to create a winning project for a real international company was an experience I will take with me as I enter the business world.”

Courtney R. Meagher, B’19

Winning Team Integrates Snapchat into Marketing Strategy

The winning team’s research showed that college-aged shoppers spend less time browsing the aisles and more time browsing the web.  The team’s goal was to get potential customers thinking of and buying Mondelēz products.  As a marketing strategy, the team engaged shoppers with unique and interactive content through Snapchat, a multimedia messaging app used globally for sharing photos, videos and messages that self-destruct.

The team utilized Snapchat geotags and designed custom filters to define store locations.  Discount offers, coupon messages and promo codes were part of the strategy to interact with buyers.  The team also recommended including Snapcodes on the product’s packaging.

“The Mondelēz competition was a great experience.  I had the opportunity to bring ideas to life and present them on a big stage with real stakes.  The competition was beneficial to me during a crucial time when I was applying for internships and jobs.  I learned many professional success skills and was able to include this incredible company on my resume!”

Jonathan D. Borish, B’19

High Stakes for the Winners

The Mondelēz team was impressed with the innovative ideas that students developed to improve the firm’s approach to retailers as well as its mobile marketing strategy.  While students on the top teams all won prize money to share, members of the 1st place team were also offered paid internships at Mondelēz International.

1st Place–$2,000

  • Jonathan Borish
  • Laura Herald
  • Nathanyel Kelty
  • Ryan Kincaid
  • Courtney R. Meagher

2nd Place–$1,500

  • Zachary Cossin
  • Corey  Gillmer
  • Nicholas Iacono
  • Benjamin Korpiel

3rd Place–$1,000

  • Angelica Bertko-Townsell
  • Cordon Louco
  • Alyssa Lukach
  • Angela Tozzi
  • Amanda Venglish

 Our Special Thanks and Appreciation to the Mondelēz Team:

  • Tara Hieminga, Global PPOS Manager, Instore Activation
  • Brandon Murphy, Region Director Retail
  • Catherine Scott, Global Sales Capability Lead
  • Jake Smith, Global Director, Instore Activation
  • Mike Sukitch, Former Global VP, Category Planning & Activation