Over Winter Break, we had an open call for Boothies to share their favorite times at Booth. We continue this series with two stories of great teams: one group working together to launch a new product for MillerCoors, the other lightening the finals week mood with a festive rendition of “12 Days of Booth-mas” in the Winter Garden.
Kilts Center for Marketing: MillerCoors Case Competition
A designer, a consultant, an entrepreneur, a marketer, and a coding whiz. No, it’s not the ending of a new (nerdier?) version of The Breakfast Club, but rather the team I worked on during last year’s Kilts Center for Marketing Analytics Case Competition. As the end of my time at Booth far too rapidly approaches, participating in this competition remains among my favorite Booth experiences.
In last year’s competition, teams were tasked with creating a marketing strategy for a new, yet-to-be released MillerCoors product. The new drink was a hybrid seltzer/beer product: Two Hats. This light beer, which came in pineapple and lime flavors, was designed to increase beer consumption among 21- to 24-year-old consumers.
To kickoff the competition, we were invited to MillerCoors headquarters where we got to hear directly from the marketing team working on the product launch. We even got to try Two Hats before it reached stores! Following the kickoff, my team worked together: parsing through data, designing sample marketing materials (ranging from themed swag to a custom snapchat filter), identifying industry trends to inform product line extension recommendations, and designing our final pitch deck.
The approach we took was two-fold. First, we spent hours sifting through the dataset MillerCoors gave us to generate a hypothesis for why beer consumption has dropped off in the early 20s demographic. In this phase, we quantified the threat of substitute goods– other alcoholic beverages– to determine which drinks customers were choosing over beer. Next, we reviewed survey data that explained why “Gen Z” consumers were choosing wine or spirits instead. After gleaning that customers were drinking wine to pair with food, and spirits to elevate their mood, we designed a marketing campaign that focused on the fun of drinking beer and the unexpected ways beer can pair with food to elevate a meal.
Our final recommendation was a true testament to the diversity of talents that can be found at Chicago Booth—we combined complex data analytics, a strong understanding of the target customer, and an eye for detail on the visual components of our marketing campaign to create a recommendation that we presented to representatives from both the Kilts Center for Marketing and the MillerCoors C-Suite.
While I’ve had an abundance of inspiring, funny, and memorable moments at Booth (singing karaoke with classmates in Vietnam, climbing a mountain in Colombia with more than 300 of my peers, and attending a fireside chat with one of my hometown heroes are all high on my list of favorite memories), this experience tops the list for a few reasons. First, this competition was one of the first times I worked with a team at Booth where everyone’s background was truly distinct—our team had both “traditional” and “non-traditional” backgrounds, and our work benefitted from our varied professional experiences.
Second, the experience was a true testament to Booth’s reputation in Chicago. Offering strategic advice to top executives from MillerCoors was an incredible opportunity and one that I wouldn’t have had access to anywhere else.
Third, it allowed me to rapidly gain hands-on experience working in a function where I had little previous exposure. Before Booth, I worked as a technology consultant and had minimal professional exposure to marketing. Applying what I was learning in my marketing classes at Booth to a timely, high-priority issue for a major company was the perfect opportunity to explore my professional interests.
While I have no plans to stop creating favorite Booth moments during my last 6 months at the University of Chicago, I have no doubt that I’ll continue to raise a glass to this memory.
A Capella: Economies of Scale
I’ll never forget the first time that I visited Booth as a prospective student. I was at the Booth Live preview event and all of the prospective students were invited to the school’s weekly Friday social hour called LPF (Liquidity Preference Function). The atmosphere was exhilarating. All of the students in the Harper Center’s Winter Garden seemed to know each other and I yearned to be part of the community.
I was getting to know some of the other prospective students (some of whom are now my classmates!) when the music started. The Economies of Scale a cappella group began singing “Despacito” right there in the Winter Garden, which was both amazing and hilarious at the same time. At that moment, as I heard students rap to hundreds of their classmates, I felt sure that Booth was the place for me. It was the first time my expectation that Booth would be all work and no play was blown out of the water by the social scene. I began to see that no matter your interest, there seemed to be a club for that!
Fast forward to one year later: I was accepted into Booth, my dream school! Tryouts for Economies of Scale were just around the corner and I was incredibly nervous. I had no problem getting up in front of people at a crowded bar and singing karaoke, but the thought of two people intently listening to an audition was daunting. I felt like I was on American Idol and Simon Cowell was about to deliver my harsh critique.
Hands shaking, I stood up in front of the Economies of Scale co-chairs and sang my signature karaoke song: Sunday Morning by Maroon 5. Fortunately, there were no Simon Cowells in the group– I found out later that week that I was accepted into the group!
Just a few months later, I’m now one of the most active members of Economies of Scale, and I’ve been able to live my prospective student dream of performing in front of my classmates. Our first concert with this year’s group was singing Christmas carols before finals week. We dressed up in holiday outfits (I wore a Santa hat!) and sang for an audience of students in the Winter Garden. Our songs included “12 Days of Booth-mas,” a Booth-specific play on the holiday classic. We referenced Dean Rajan giving a gift to Boothies each day of Christmas, including 10,000 bid points and Grade Non-Disclosure.
As we sang that day, I was proud to be part of the group that I had seen the year before in that very same location. I loved the lyrics, but loved my fellow singers even more. The practices had been a really great way to get to know people with similar interests and a fun way to take a break from studying for finals. With the first performance on the books, I’m looking forward to the next one. We’ll be joining AudioBooth (another music-focused student club) at another LPF this winter, so I can look forward to more great Booth moments with this team coming soon.