A favourite project in the fall semester is the chocolate project. In teams, the students create a new chocolate project, conduct research, develop a brand, and then present a business case to ask a banker for money.
The research is probably the best part – the class begins by assessing different chocolate products in class. Then, they get creative and develop their own recipes and hold focus groups where participants are asked to taste-test the student creations.
Facing the banker is probably the toughest part – here is where faculty member Mr Howell transforms into a tough, no-nonsense banking character.
The end result – an overdose of chocolate and many lessons learned about how to make a strategic business presentation.
All dressed up and – ready to meet the banker. The IMC class of 2015 had to pitch the banker, aka Professor Steve Howell, to request a loan of $500,000 to launch a new business.
The business was a sweet deal – in fact teams of students created a new chocolate product and developed a marketing plan to support their financial request.
Apparently if he really had the money, well, let’s say the banker was suitably impressed!
A favourite activity of IMC classes is the chocolate project which requires teams of students to market a new chocolate product, determine its target market, decide how it will be promoted, and convince a ‘banker’ (aka professor Steve Howell) to loan them $500,000 for its launch.
The best part of the process is the research component – that is researching the competition. If you think you know your chocolate, you might be fooled in a blind test.
There was a lot of trust in the room as student Nathanael Julien and Professor Steve Howell handed out chocolate to students who closed their eyes and popped the sweet samples of milk chocolate into their mouths. They rated the taste and texture and then cleansed their palettes with water in preparation for the next piece.
The next step in the research process was to hold focus groups of students on campus to determine what the prospective target market thinks about chocolate, its packaging and possible promotions.