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By Mackenzie Riley, Eller Marketing ’14 

The University of Arizona’s chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA) placed third in the organization’s nationwide annual Collegiate Case Competition last month.

A year-long experience, the competition challenges top marketing students to create a comprehensive marketing strategy for a major corporate sponsor. This year’s sponsor was the Hershey Company.

The Eller team of seven AMA students began preparation back in the fall, meeting every Tuesday to commit to the competition. They had six months to prepare a plan to market the re-launch of a Hershey’s product, and went head-to-head with 112 colleges throughout the U.S. The Arizona team spent hours on the project, compiling primary and secondary research, conducting sales forecasts, developing budgets, creating mock advertisements, revising label graphics, and many other projects.

“We worked on this 40-page proposal for the entirety of the fall semester,” said Ronjay Quibilan. “AMA invited the top ten proposals to present to Hershey’s brand manager, sales executive, and chief marketing officer during the National Conference in New Orleans.” The UA was among those finalists.

The students took off for New Orleans in the beginning of April. “On Thursday of the conference, we presented our final product of the marketing proposal to the Hershey executives,” Quibilan said. “It was in a closed room, our presentation was about 30 minutes long and we had 15 minutes of questions. The executives were surprisingly welcoming and very thankful for the work we had put in for their product. It was eye-opening to see the inner workings and motivations behind one of the world’s largest confectionary companies.”

Among intense competition and highly qualified schools, the Arizona team took third. “This experience gave me the confidence and assurance that I am capable of creating something that is impressive in the eyes of industry experts,” explained Quibilan. “I am confident that the experience I gained as an Eller student has prepared me to make an innovative impression on real-world businesses and the nation’s most esteemed and competitive industries. I was really able to see the applicability of my education at Eller.”

Top image of the Eller AMA team: Ronjay Quibilan, Catherine Fischer, Luke Hemming, Mark Lewandowski, Moriah Cline, and Justin Davis.