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Student teams tackle business problems for real clients in competition

Six teams of first-year MBA candidates and members of the One-Year MBA class of 2012 will go head-to-head at the GMSC Presentation Day Competition on Thursday, May 10.

For more than two decades, MBA students at Goizueta Business School have worked with top companies on real-world problems. The Goizueta Marketing Strategy Consultancy (GMSC) will write a new chapter May 10 with a round of guest speakers, presentations and professional judging.

Six teams of first-year MBA candidates and members of the One-Year MBA class of 2012 will go head-to-head at the GMSC Presentation Day Competition on Thursday, May 10. This semester, teams have been working to help clients including Focus Brands, The Weather Channel, Mohawk Industries, Wellpoint, UCB and GE solve a marketing strategy challenge. Competing teams will present findings and recommendations to a panel of Atlanta-area marketing, finance and consulting executives. 

Javier Goizueta, vice president of The Coca-Cola Company and president of the global McDonald’s division, will give a keynote address at the event.

Goizueta leads a worldwide organization that is responsible for building the strategic alliance with McDonald's in more than 33,000 restaurants in more than 119 countries. He is the son of the late Roberto C. Goizueta, longtime Coca-Cola CEO and namesake of Goizueta Business School at Emory University.

GMSC clients pay a fee to work with a team of MBA students eager to apply professional, life and classroom experience to an assigned problem. Students spend approximately 10 hours per week creating a 35-50 page final report including a situational overview, an industry and competitor analysis, findings from secondary and primary research, strategic and tactical recommendations, financial justifications and implementation plans.

"The students have been working incredibly hard throughout the semester and have some excellent marketing strategy projects to present," says Sandra Dube, managing director of the 2012 GMSC competition and a former team member. "Presentation Day is the culmination of the hard work of a vast team of individuals from professors to student assistants to alumni."

Reshma Shah, assistant professor in the practice of marketing, took over as GMSC adviser in 1997. She helped turn the student club into a full-credited class within the marketing area in 1999, adding more instructor involvement. Shah meets with student teams weekly while other team leaders make sure projects are on target through the spring semester.

"There is value to the students through their whole journey through Goizueta," adds Brian Mitchell, associate dean of the Full-Time MBA program and former GMSC client. "In itself, it is a unique differentiator for our program. So it’s one of the very few actual experiences that an MBA student can have that is not just hypothetical in nature, but very real in the sense that they have a real business problem."

In the past, clients have contracted GMSC teams to validate work of other consulting projects or have relied on student teams to provide them with a full-service strategy taken directly to the marketplace. All clients receive detailed analysis, recommendations and an implementation plan that rivals other consulting services.

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