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University of Dayton Magazine

Day in the life: New twist on group projects

9:49 AM  Apr 12th, 2013
by Lauren Thorn ‘13

Group projects are dreaded and despised in most college-level courses, and students usually associate them with chaos, frustration, and a lot of hard work. But this semester’s retail marketing class has a unique opportunity, which changes the concept of working in a group.

Students in Serdar Durmusoglu’s class are working with managers from regional Target stores to develop fresh solutions and strategies for the retailer. One group in particular is focusing on Target’s recent expansion into Canada, the retailer’s first entry into an international market.

“This project is different in that we actually have the Target representatives come into our class and meet with us and consult with us as if we were actual members of a marketing team,” Adrienne Bianchi said. “It’s good to actually get their feedback and work so closely with them.”

The group of five students is researching Canadian customers in order to develop a more accurate idea of their purchasing patterns, lifestyles, and demographics. By gathering this information, the group hopes to develop a marketing campaign, a product assortment, and a financial plan for the Canadian Target stores.

Not only does this project allow the students to work in a unique group comprised of both students and business professionals, but it also exposes them to the internal operations of a large retailer, and gives them the opportunity to gain valuable skills for their future careers.

“This project gives me job skills and allows me to work on something that’s an actual campaign for the Target brand,” Westley Trainum, another group member said.

The group will present their proposals to their class and to the Target representatives at the end of the semester.  Whether or not the group’s solutions to Target’s international expansion will be used by the brand will all depend on their final presentation. The managers will decide whose solutions are the most practical and implementable for their brand, and an overall winner will be selected from each class.

As Trainum said, “I’m not just doing something that’s a class and a hypothetical situation, it’s something that could actually be implemented by Target.”

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