Who said an MBA was all work and no play? If you had visited Middlesex University Dubai's MBA Applied Learning workshop last weekend, you would've thought you were in the innovation lab for a major soft-drink maker instead of a university classroom. Middlesex MBA students had to invent and market soft-drink aimed at the children's market. The workshop was part of the MBA programme’s Applied Learning Experiences, which are designed to enhance students’ professional competence by ensuring that participants engage with practice and application of their learning.
The students' role was to, as a marketing consultant, help develop new ‘soft-drink' concepts rooted in UAE’s heritage, said Mr. Mohammad Meraj, Lecturer (Adjunct) Business School, at the event. Each group identified a gap in the current marketplace and developed a new product aimed at meeting the needs of children and their parents. After deciding on the product concept, students had to create the brand, packaging and a launch communication campaign.
"As consumers get more conscious about health and nutrition, this project challenges our students to develop products that are exciting to children, but which will also appeal to parents and family members. All groups were able to reference consumer trends and socio-economic changes, and apply creativity at the same time, to create informed, meaningful and entertaining products and branding ideas", said Mohammad.
In a rather closely contested competition, the winning team’s concept Sunny-D, a flavoured water enriched with vitamins, addressed the challenges of dehydration in active youngsters and vitamin D deficiencies prevalent in the region. Their brand reflected the ‘sun and sand’ heritage of Dubai and packing ideas addressed the challenges of product handling (among children) as well sustainability concerns in a dynamic way. This concept edged out, only slightly, to beat Fruity Jazz, an all-natural low-sugar juice, which planned to engage their target audience of young children through educational games, science-based learning contests and environmental responsibility initiatives.
The Middlesex MBA aims to develop individuals to manage successfully and ethically across a range of organisations and to critically evaluate and take decisions in their functional areas of expertise.