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Students win $4,000 for marketing acuity

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Photo of four winning students

Zen Marketing teammates who won a total of $4,000 were, from left, Tarek Kotby, Matthew Jensen, Makenzie Hannine and Michael Watrud.

ST. CLOUD, Minn. – Target Corporation has presented $1,000 to each of four St. Cloud State University students for retailing and merchandising strategies they developed for meeting the needs of changing demographics.  The four were among 26 G.R. Herberger College of Business students who participated in the real-world case study competition for their capstone strategic marketing course taught by Assistant Professor Olivia Lee, marketing and business law.

The "Zen Marketing" team that took the $4,000 in prize money was comprised of graduating seniors Tarek Kotby (Laramie, Wyo.), Makenzie Hannine (St. Michael, Minn.), Matthew M. Jensen (Savage, Minn.) and Michael Watrud (Rochester, Minn.).

Kotby, who came to St. Cloud State on a swimming scholarship, has worked in several retail environments; Hannine is interested in marketing research and event planning; Jensen plans to work in retail management or business-to-business sales; and Watrud, who has worked in the building materials department at Menards since 2005, plans to enroll in an MBA program.

The 26 students in Lee’s course worked in groups to address the challenge faced by Target:  "How can we ensure that our merchandising mix matches that of the changing cultures and environments where our stores are being built?"

Student worked independently on research assignments, customer values, competitive advantage and other issues before forming into teams.  Three teams of four were selected as finalists by St. Cloud State faculty, who based their review on presentation dynamics, demonstrated knowledge and research capabilities.  Students were coached by Lee along with Professor JoAnn Asquith and Professor Dave Thomsen, both of whom teach marketing courses, and Mary Soroko, director of the College of Business Information and Planning Office.

Also competing as finalists were POG team members Brian Kelly, Andrew Johnson, Alexa Landefeld and Dana Springer, and Los Ojos del Toros teammates Brandon Cadle, Ryan Wolvin, Amy Berg and Sarah Timm.

Competition sponsors were Target, St. Cloud Floral and the St. Cloud State chapter of Students in Free Enterprise. 

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