For most students, marketing is the favorite from the fall term. It is taught by Brian McCarthy, who has spent part of his career in sales at both IBM and Microsoft. Brian does a phenomenal job of engaging every student and drawing them into the course. We read and discuss a few case studies describing some global marketing problem. But the most exciting part of class is the Marketplace simulation. Like every other MIM class, there is a major group project. For marketing, we were matched against a few other teams in an imaginary on-line business environment. We were given “seed money” and had to build a new personal computer business unit for our hypothetical electronics company. Each of the 8 weeks in the course corresponded to a fiscal quarter in the game. Each week we had to make a complicated series of decisions based on market research and the actions of our competitors. We had to decide everything from whether to staff another sales office, or spend money on advertising or R&D. The simulation would then take our decisions, and apply them against the consumer’s actions.
It generated a lot of healthy and playful competition amongst our teams! As the deadline neared, we were so anxious to see which team had sold the most computers, or had designed a model that received the highest rating, or had earned the greatest profit, etc. At the end of the game, each team gave a 10-minute marketing presentation complete with hypothetical advertising and branding!
I’m sure many students will miss the marketing class now that it is over, but some will get to learn even more in the marketing specialization next summer.