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Master of Management students help SMEs with marketing strategy

11 Apr 2013

An Australian Bureau of Statistics analysis of business exits lists poor market segmentation and strategy as common reasons for the failure of small and medium enterprises, often because of a lack of expertise in market analysis. As part of the work-integrated learning at the University of Sydney Business School, Master of Management students are helping SMEs and not-for-profit organisations improve their business prospects using marketing strategies developed as class projects.

"SMEs often do not have the resources to focus much of their attention on creating marketing strategies, which is where we can step in with our work-integrated learning approach," said Dr Ranjit Voola, Co-Chair, Marketing Discipline (Learning and Teaching). "With these marketing projects, our students have an opportunity to gain real world experience and can make a significant difference to small businesses."

The students have worked on projects for a diverse range of businesses ranging from the University of Sydney Students' Union, to coffee specialists Barista Brothers and BeanCraft, and even a plumbing firm. The students have also worked on a project for the Sydney Medical School, helping to promote the school's offerings to potential students.

"There is a high failure rate in Australia for SMEs but I believe universities can play a key role in reversing this trend," added Dr Voola. "At the same time, in providing such support to businesses, students have the opportunity to put their learning into practice and develop strategies for live business projects, which is an invaluable experience."

In their most recent project, students worked with boutique coffee roasters BeanCraft in a two-stage approach. The first stage involved a strategic analysis of BeanCraft's customer needs, their competitors, and business environment. In the second stage, students used the data from the strategic analysis to create a marketing plan and sales kit for the business.

"This project highlights the importance of striking a balance between theory and practice in creating and implementing successful marketing strategies," Dr Voola concluded. "It reaffirms the Business School's focus on engaging with the private sector and on providing real-world experience to its students to help them turn into business leaders of the future."

For more information, please visit the Master of Management website.