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The Thirst for Knowledge: MBA students create new soft-drink concepts as part of their ALEs


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. MBA students were tasked with inventing and marketing soft-drinks 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 marketing consultants, help develop new ‘soft-drink' concepts rooted in the UAE’s heritage,” said Mohammad Meraj, Lecturer in Marketing, Business School. Each group identified a gap in the current market 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 Aseer, 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 Frisbee, an all-natural organic retail concept for schools that would offer freshly-squeezed fruit juices optimised for nutrition of primary schoolers using a subscription model. They proposed engaging 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. Middlesex University Dubai currently offers 11 MBA pathways: General, Finance, Marketing, Business Excellence, Project Management, Healthcare Management, Operations and Supply Chain Management, Business Analytics, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Islamic Economy, and Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility.

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