Sunday, August 16, 2015

First year MBAs get a taste of the market

As part of orientation, all 10 teams of first year, full-time NC State Jenkins MBAs participated in Marketplace.  Each team was given $100 and had two weeks to come up with a product or service that they would sell in an actual market.  They could use up to $100 of their own funds as well.

The Marketplace event happened last Friday at HQ Raleigh.  NC State Jenkins MBA students, alums, and staff attended along with invitees from the local startup community.  Each visitor had 50 "MBAbucks" that they could spend.  Entrepreneurship professor Lewis Sheats and a panel of judges picked a winner.

1) Many of the products were food-related, including ice cream, snow cones, popsicles, popcorn, fresh organic produce.  Some people are always hungry, right?
2) Pricing strategies were interesting to say the least.  I paid 7 MBAbucks for a small scoop of ice cream and 3 MBAbucks for a quart of fresh organic tomatoes.  In a real marketplace the tomatoes would have cost more.
3) The winners: Jenkins PopCo -- flavored popcorn in appealingly designed bags.
4) The biggest challenge to most students I talked to was coming up with a concept on such a tight deadline.  Welcome to the world of business.

For more details, see this article in Triangle Business Journal.  Kudos to Claire Jefferies, Lewis Sheats, the MBA office, and the student teams for pulling off this great event.

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