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Making the Perfect Pitch

Making the Perfect Pitch
NYU Stern Undergraduate students presented marketing plans to senior management from Ferrero, an Italian confectionery manufacturer.

“When students enroll in their first marketing class, they typically believe marketing is all about advertising, communication and consumer psychology. That is a misleading and inaccurate belief about what a career in marketing really entails, and what skills are needed to be a successful marketing manager,” said Andrea Bonezzi, an Assistant Professor of Marketing at NYU Stern.
 
In Professor Bonezzi’s Introduction to Marketing class, offered by Stern’s Marketing Department, students learn that marketing is a complex managerial process that requires analytical, strategic and tactical thinking, as well as a solid understanding of accounting, finance and operations. To that end, students work in teams on a real-world project that entails developing a comprehensive marketing plan for a real brand at a real company.
 
This semester, Bonezzi challenged students to develop a full-scale marketing plan for the introduction in the United States of Pocket Coffee, a coffee-infused chocolate manufactured by Ferrero, an Italian confectionery company whose brands include Nutella, Ferrero Rocher and Tic Tac. At the end of the semester, students presented their plans to Alessandro Bampa, marketing director for the pralines category at Ferrero USA.
 
“This was a really great opportunity,” said Bampa. “One of our goals was to help students understand the complexity of being a marketing manager, by applying what they learn in the class to a real-world project.”
 
To kick off the project, the Wasserman Center for Career Development administered the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test at the beginning of the semester to students enrolled in the course.
 
“I asked students to take the MBTI for two reasons,” said Bonezzi. “First, learning more about their personality type helps students understand their strengths and interests, and reflect on what types of careers might suit them best. Second, I used the results from the MBTI to form diverse, yet well-balanced teams of students.”

“It was great taking the test, because it made us realize that we all brought different skills to the table,” said S.M. Dipali (BS ’16), a sophomore with concentrations in Finance and International Business. “We had one individual who was really good with numbers, and we had another who was really good at boiling things down to the main objective.”
 
After the teams were formed, students started conducting market research to analyze customers, competitors and the overall market environment, and come up with a viable marketing strategy for introducing Pocket Coffee in the United States.
 
“One of the main tools we used was NYU’s free Virtual Business Library, and we looked up a lot of data to help understand and do an analysis of the market,” said Tim Wu (BS ’14), whose concentrations include Finance and Statistics. “We came up with a business idea, and used the data to make sure our business ideas worked.”
 
After identifying a viable strategy, students worked on tactical aspects, such as redesigning the packaging and branding materials, or developing short commercials, and decided how to best allocate financial resources to different activities. Overall, Bampa was impressed by the students’ work throughout the semester.  
 
“Even though they are not yet experienced, it’s very interesting to see how students can tackle a project in a professional way and with great business acumen,” said Bampa. “I really appreciate this opportunity and have been impressed by the quality of the work.”
 
Throughout the presentations, Bampa offered feedback and engaged students in dialogue about their target audiences, resource allocation decisions and other aspects of their marketing plans. He also brought free samples of Ferrero products for the students as a token of gratitude for their work.

Learn more about the Marketing Department at Stern.