Michele Rosiello, Vanessa Gabela, Michael Chen, Tarun Rathnum, Louise Chang, (all MBA ’10) of the Apple MarketLab team took a broad question from their company, “How can we grow online mobile store revenue?”
On Dec. 5 MIT Sloan students debuted their final projects for MarketLab, a program which gives hands-on marketing experience to students interested in further developing skills in that area. With a diverse list of companies represented (i.e. Hewlett Packard, Time Inc.), the students showcased their projects in a short one-minute elevator pitch and presented deeper findings to the group present in a poster show.
Tarun Rathnam, Michael L. Chen, Vanessa Gabela, (all MBA ’10) of the Apple MarketLab team took a broad question from their company, “How can we grow online mobilie store revenue?” and during their time broke the question down with the help of their Apple contact to create targeted deliverables. Describing the overall quality of the projects development, Rathnam says, “In our case, it was almost like partnership. It wasn't like … go off and solve this problem and if you come up with a great answer we'll think about what you have to say. They worked with us along the way, so it almost felt like we were part of the team.”
Gabela adds, “Kimiko, who was our contact person, did tell us that you guys are MY team. This was [a project] they hadn't put the time or the team into to get the hard data. It seems like it's something that we've really been able to add value to.”
The team received constant feedback from their contact at Apple. They met weekly for an hour before having a teleconference with Apple representatives. During their meetings they would set deliverables for the next meetings and would distribute a deliverable to the Apple team prior to their teleconference. “We were always in constant communication, letting Kimiko know what we were doing, what we were researching, or what our findings were,” says Gabela.
“And we got constant feedback, too. We'd go to her and she'd say this looks good, but maybe not so much this idea. Although she was never negative, she was always very positive,” adds Chen.
“We have a final presentation to give, but there are zero surprises there. Kimiko probably already knows 90 percent of what we already talked about, which is great because the whole time we've been going in the right direction.”
The team believes that one of the biggest draws to MIT Sloan is its project-based action learning, which is available in programs like MarketLab. Chen says, “For me, I looked at the list of companies and that's what really excited me. HP was on there, HBO was on there; all of the companies were ones that you would recognize. So that was it for me. And really, I was very excited working with Apple because I wanted to get to work with them and to get to understand their culture a little more.”
“It's also a channel to start a stronger relationship with these clients. Like HP, for example, did two projects with us. They'd done none before. People delivered on that,” says Rathnam. “This is the stuff I came here for. Everyone's got classes.”
The group believes that the projects helped them develop a better awareness of what goes on in marketing and also helped them establish a lasting connection with their contacts made through the course of their work. All in all, MarketLab delivered for the Apple team, helping them to learn best-practices for marketing and the opportunity to put them in motion.