Seven teams of students in the MBA program worked throughout the spring semester to develop business plans for seven retailers on Main Street in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia, as part of the one-year MBA Case Competition.
The goal for the project was to bring in more foot traffic from the 35-55-year-old demographic during daylight hours. Manayunk attracts older, more affluent shoppers by day to its quaint downtown and younger, college-age shoppers as patrons at night. Students were asked to come up with a marketing plan that would help draw larger numbers of daytime shoppers while not alienating the nighttime crowd.
The contest was arranged by Steven Frumkin, associate professor of textile management and marketing, in conjunction with Martin Pulli Fine Jewelry, Bryn Mawr Running Company, Cadence Cycling, The Little Apple, Main Street Music, Nicole Miller, Salon L’etoile and the Manayunk Development Corporation.
The teams presented their final proposals to a panel of judges in April. Each group had 10 minutes to present to four judges, who served as industry experts and provided helpful feedback to the students throughout the competition. The groups presented their solutions to the problem and wrote a business plan analyzing the different issues of the business challenge.
The winning team — comprised of students Krisanthi Gjogu, Joseph Barricelli, Christina Talley, Daniella Holuta and Mallory Arnold — submitted a marketing plan for Martin Pulli Fine Jewelry that proposed building mutually beneficial events sponsored by multiple stores in the area and special event days for families who live in Manayunk. They also proposed redesigned a portion of Pulli’s website to highlight the new promotions.
“This competition included many strategic components that we as faculty try to recognize and address in the classroom,” Frumkin said. “It challenges students to bring together all of their previous academic experiences into a consolidated business world and business mentored event.”
The experience gave students the opportunity to work in a real-world business setting, talking to actual store owners and customers to determine their plans to bring in more revenue.
“Increasing value at the strategic business unit level is something that is the life blood any company and these students worked with real companies on real problems,” Frumkin said. “They were judged by professional business development experts and their ultimate plan brought a better living condition to our own local community.”