A historic run to the finals of an international collegiate case competition resulted in a third-place finish for a group of marketing management students in the College of Business Administration.
CPP members of the American Marketing Association traveled to New Orleans in early April as first-time finalists in the AMA Collegiate Case Competition. Teams entered proposals outlining how Mary Kay Cosmetics could reach younger consumers, and the top submissions were presented to judges, including the company’s chief marketing officer.
“From the second we began our presentation, I knew this was going to be our best run yet,” AMA’s director of community services Jason Martinez said. “The presentation flowed smoother than any rehearsal, and it was chilling to see the judges’ heads nod in agreement as we were making our points on the stage.”
To qualify as a finalist, students spent months researching the Mary Kay product line while shaping its strategy to appeal to Millennials. Advisors Professor Gregg Arends and Professor Michael Assumma mentored the team during training and accompanied the group to Louisiana.
“The case is technically involving proprietary information, so this has to be somewhat vague,” Arends said. “The proposal included a powerful umbrella theme that encompassed elements of both inner and out beauty, tied with entrepreneurship, community service, college outreach and fun.”
Cal Poly Pomona was awarded first in Best Use of Conference Theme and received distinction as a top 25 collegiate chapter.
Marketing management student Briana Davis is the director of communications for AMA and one of five case competition presenters. The graduating senior described the competition as an eye-opener to the world of marketing. She felt tested and pushed beyond her comfort zone at times but credits it for part of her success.
“As an individual, I’ve grown more comfortable and confident in my skills as a marketer,” Davis said. “I’ve learned the value in having a team and I appreciate the opportunity to flex my marketing muscles to this degree while still being a student.
“When I transition to my career, I will have greater conviction in voicing my ideas than if I wasn’t in this AMA case competition class and not a part of CPP AMA history.”
Teammate Maria de Los Angeles and fundraiser chair reflected on long nights with team and advisors, an entire spring break in a campus computer lab and the support she received from her children to fully commit to the competition.
“We have all come out better people from [the competition],” said de Los Angeles, who will be graduating in June. “I learned how to work collaboratively and to take criticism constructively.”
AMA holds its Collegiate Case Competition annually with perennial powerhouses like the 2018 winners from Wharton School of the University Pennsylvania. Many of the suggested strategies go into implementation.