Tackle your business challenges head-on

November 5, 2019

Taking place from June to September, a business project formed the concluding part of Durham University Business School’s MBA programme and is a cost-effective way of obtaining strategic knowledge and expertise. Students work across all sectors and functions, applying their skills and knowledge to deliver ideas and recommendations to take business forward. Read on to learn how Diageo benefited from collaborating with Durham MBA student Zhenzhen Wang

Durham MBA (full-time) graduate Zhenzhen Wang worked with British multinational drinks brand Diageo for her business project. Diageo is a global operator in alcoholic beverages. It produces more than 200 brands of spirits and beers, which are sold in more than 180 countries around the world. Here, Zhenzhen reveals more about her experience.

What was the project about?

Traditionally, local Chinese spirits largely dominate the market. They account for 99 per cent of the market share, leaving very limited space for Western merchants. My Strategic Business Project was focused on the consumption habits of the Chinese population, identifying the most significant factors that influence Chinese whisky consumption. The results of my research would be used to help shape Diageo’s marketing strategy for China.

How did you find the Business Project process?

The project started with a productive kick-off meeting, where I learnt about the company’s holistic marketing strategy in terms of brand portfolio, consumer segmentation and their expansion plans for China. We also discussed various research techniques and methodology.

Every two weeks, I gave Diageo progress updates and gained their approval for the next steps. In terms of resource, Diageo provided me with industry and company reports, and provided support when I needed to expand the sample for my quantitative survey.

What were the project outcomes?

I used a psychology-based framework (Theory of Planned Behaviour) as the core premise to explore unique insights into Chinese whisky consumption.

A quantitative survey from 515 Chinese mainland consumers was conducted, through which the psychological factors, as well as the role of situational factors and demographic factors, were analysed.

Did you find it beneficial to undertake the project? If so, how?

This project has been a great experience. First of all, it gave me the opportunity to work with a world-class company, where I learnt so much about advanced marketing strategy and retail procedure. Secondly, it enabled me to apply what I have learnt from my Durham MBA to a real business situation, including marketing insights, as well as research and strategic skills.

“We were delighted to have Zhenzhen to help us with topics related to consumption behaviours of young consumers in China,” adds William Wong, strategy director of Diageo Greater China.

“Her systematic approach to breaking these hot topics into multiple research areas and analytical abilities to gather and leverage data were very impressive.

“Her work brought us some new and highly interesting perspectives to shaping our future strategy in China.”

Durham University Business School
To learn more about how your business can work with students, visit: www.durham.ac.uk/ business/corporate-partnerships/ working-with-our-students

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