In a world full of up-and-coming electronic products, how do you set a new item apart from its competition? An even greater challenge, how do you convince a group of executives from a top electronics firm that your marketing strategy is worth their time? These were the questions 60 MBA students from 23 universities across the U.S. faced on March 28 during the second annual Neeley Sales and Marketing Strategy Competition, sponsored by Sony Electronics. A group of MBA students from Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School put their marketing prowess to the test and two took home prizes for their teams’ work.

Mays MBA student Eric Bruns was one of six students on the competition's first-place team.
Mays MBA student Eric Bruns was one of six students on the competition’s first-place team.

The event, hosted by Texas Christian University’s Neeley School of Business, placed MBA students in randomly assigned teams of six, which competed to determine the most effective strategy from conception to market for a potential Sony product. The students, who hailed from top universities such as TCU, SMU, Rice, Baylor, Yale, Purdue, Pepperdine, Northwestern, and Vanderbilt, presented their strategies to a group of Sony Electronics executives who served as judges for the competition.

The first place team, containing Mays MBA student Eric Bruns, took home $6,000 in addition to the competition’s top honor. In third place, Mays MBA student Gustavo Perez and teammates won $2,000. Other Texas A&M MBA competitors were Andrew Gonzales, Kathleen Sui and Arnav Sinha.

“This competition centered on a new product category and concept that has just emerged,” explains Dennis McTighe, senior vice president of sales for Sony Electronics Western Zone. “The teams presented features, price points, design, functionality, and a targeted go-to-market strategy.” The concept of a new product category, rather than one already in existence, set the competition apart from its predecessors.

“This competition enabled our participating MBA students to apply their technical knowledge of marketing theory and strategy and to put their effective communication skills into action,” said Kelli Kilpatrick, director of the Texas A&M MBA Program. “We are thrilled that our students were able to showcase their talents and were rewarded so well for their abilities. Our MBA students are high performers and they are learning from a top-notch group of peers and faculty—it’s a winning combination.”