MBA Students Take on the Challenge of the Sony Marketing Case Competition

Rady School Student Member of First-Place Team

Today's economy demands creative problem solving, even for global industry leaders. When Sony Electronics faced the challenge of developing an innovative marketing strategy to stay ahead of the competition, company leaders sought input from some of the most creative minds in the country — MBA students.

Working with the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego, Sony presented its marketing challenge to MBA students from top U.S. business schools at the 2012 Sony Marketing Case Competition, held at the company's San Diego headquarters in early February.

Students were randomly assigned to teams and were asked to develop a compelling marketing strategy under strict time constraints. With Sony senior executives at the judges' table and prize money at stake, the competition was both fierce and exhilarating to students.

"The Sony Marketing Competition was an exciting event," said Frank Wang, a competition participant from the Rady School. "I met my teammates in the morning and an hour later we were in a meeting room and tackling the case. Although we all had our own ideas, we were able to encourage each other during our creative process."

Rady School student Mike Bruner ('13), a member of the team that won the competition, felt that the ability of his team to work as a cohesive unit, despite the fact that they had not met prior to the competition, helped them succeed.

"My team could not have been any better," Bruner said. "It was an absolute pleasure to work with Raj Brahmbatt from UC Berkeley, Warren Wong from the University of Southern California, and Brett Hoerz from the University of Wisconsin." Bruner also enjoyed the opportunity to get feedback from Sony senior executives on his team's presentation.

"The executives and staff from Sony were gracious with their time and advice, and truly seemed to take our presentations to heart," Bruner said.

Robin Darmon, Director of the Rady School's Career Connections, praised the dedication and involvement of Sony's staff during the competition.

"The Sony team's commitment to supporting MBA talent and strengthening their company through the most innovative marketing approach is extremely inspiring," Darmon said. "The Rady MBAs who participated felt truly honored to be a part of this competition. The comments and suggestions of each team were taken very seriously by the Sony team, and each MBA student felt like their input was making a difference in the strategic direction of a giant in the technology industry." Given his experience with the competition, Bruner urged MBA students to take part in the future.

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