Dr Matthew Gorton, Professor in Marketing
Newcastle University Business School
Humanities and Social Sciences
What did you do?
Postgraduate Taught (PGT) students prepare a marketing and product development plan for local firm Greggs.
Who is involved?
Dr Matthew Gorton, NBS8526 Module Leader, Professor in Marketing and Dr. Mona Nassar, Teaching Fellow.
160 Postgraduate students from NBS8526 Principles of Marketing module, Greggs Plc.
Senior Management and other universities. In 2017/2018 they were Northumbria University, Teesside University and Sunderland University.
How do you do it?
Following development by an Associate Lecturer, Ian Buchanan, for several years we have been part of a ‘Greggs Marketing Challenge’ to incorporate real business practice into the Principles of Marketing module.
Student teams are required to use different marketing strategies and theoretical framework in order to prepare a marketing and product development plan and present it to the senior management of Greggs Plc. The team with the highest mark competes against other universities to win a prize and spend a day at Greggs HQ in Newcastle.
We start organising the project by meeting with Greggs management and other participating universities in spring before the start of the new academic year. We review the progress of the previous marketing challenge and develop a brief for the following academic year by the beginning of September. Then the speakers from Greggs are invited to outline the challenge to students and the groups of 5-6 people are assigned.
Throughout the module we have 11 seminars led by Mona Nassar, where each team has an opportunity to get feedback on their progress and discuss further project steps. The final presentations by each group to the Senior Greggs management usually take place in January, followed by mark allocation and selection of the team that will represent Newcastle University in the inter-university challenge at the end of February.
We also work together with Greggs PR and local publishers to cover the event in the local news. The project is worth 50% of the NBS8526 module mark for Newcastle students.
‘It was an invaluable opportunity to develop crucial marketing skills and learn a lot about the retail sector. We are very grateful to Greggs and the University for making it possible.’
Natalia Bogiatzoglou, Postgraduate Taught Student and one of the winning students in 2017/18
Why do you do it?
Primarily, this project allows students to apply theory from lectures to solve a real business problem, as well as get feedback from the industry professionals. It is also a two-way process, as we are interested in building corporate connections with local businesses for future projects involving Newcastle University Business School students, as well as Greggs are interested in student market segment.
The inter-university competition takes the project to a different level and we believe it also makes students more motivated to do their best.
Does it work?
We have been receiving good project feedback from Newcastle students about their experience, as well as from Greggs senior management on the quality of research from our students. Student enjoy being linked with a local business and develop practical skills. Greggs Marketing Challenge has been a success for several years and we are planning to keep running it in the future.