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Students Compete to Develop a Marketing Strategy in the Graduate Case Competition

May 18, 2015
Three graduate student teams developed plans to revitalize a boutique hotel’s brand in the final round of judging in this semester’s marketing case competition

The case competition has become an integral part of the graduate level Marketing Analysis & Decision Making course. It challenges student teams to analyze a business problem, apply key marketing concepts to devise real world solutions, and present these solutions to business professionals with confidence. The bonus: a chance to earn a $1,500 prize.    

This semester’s case, ‘The Park Hotels: Revitalizing an Iconic Indian Brand,’ presented students with the need to develop a brand revitalization program for an award-winning portfolio of boutique hotels scattered across India. In the case, The Park Hotel’s owner was faced with shrinking differentiation opportunities, negative consumer perceptions, and a lack of consistency across the hotel properties. The owner was challenged with how to make her brand stand out in a crowded marketplace while preserving its heritage and deciding which changes would best prepare the hotel chain for future growth. 

Assistant Professor Andrew Smith tasked the student teams to “…develop a comprehensive strategic and tactical marketing solution to address the problems facing The Park Hotels.”  

After the first round of presentations, judged by Associate Dean Julie Fitzmaurice and alum Bill Paul, the competition was narrowed down to three teams. The finalists presented to Dean Mark Cordano and two judges well-versed in the hotel and digital marketing industries. The judges were Ashley Varano ’08, M’14, Senior Digital Marketing Specialist at The Boston Consulting Group and Deborah Mireault, Director of Sales and Marketing at The Andover Inn. 

“I have been in the hospitality industry for over 25 years and the case study was obviously one I could relate to on so many levels. Upon reading the case, I could identify where the teams needed to focus their attention to succeed,” said Mireault, who has had roles at Holiday Inn, Hampton Inn, and other hotel chains.

Varano, who was on the winning team in the first-ever graduate case competition at the Girard School, brought to the judging her experience in digital marketing and social media, which play an important role in today’s competitive hotel business.

Mireault was impressed with the preparation, analysis and recommendations of all three teams but felt one team stood out. “During the presentations, all teams could answer the questions that myself and the other judges asked of them but one team showed more confidence in their answers and solution to the problem. They were creative, identified the most lucrative market segment and had strategies on how to target the customer,” she said.

The winning team, consisting of Dave Collins, Domenica Fuller, Kyley Murphy and Eva Trinidad, had a clear strategy and action plan to move forward with positioning the hotel brand, focusing their marketing and customer service efforts in support of their strategy to ‘Rediscover Indian Luxury.’   

Team member Eva Trinidad described the case competition as a good experience and felt her team made recommendations that were straightforward and actionable, which is probably why they resonated with the judges. 

The other two teams in the finals consisted of Andrew Dresner, Lindsey Mattos and Yafen Liu and Mike Carli, Jeff Marcoux, Linsey Walker and Sirisha Pochiraju.    

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  • The winning team for the spring Graduate Marketing Case Competition - Dave Collins, Eva Trinidad, Kyley Murphy and Domenica Fuller.
    The winning team for the spring Graduate Marketing Case Competition - Dave Collins, Eva Trinidad, Kyley Murphy and Domenica Fuller.

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