UC Davis Working Professional (Bay Area) MBA course review
MGB 293A: Product Management with Britta Foster
Date evaluated: Summer 2009 at the Bay Area Working Professional San Ramon campus.
Official course description: The course is designed to provide an in-depth understanding of the requirements, issues, and tools involved in marketing existing products/services. The major topic areas covered include: The product management system, market planning, and control. Unifying and integrating marketing concepts from the core and the marketing electives (through the use of a marketing simulation).
The real course description: Accurate as stated above! Lots of product marketing stuff. Positioning, segmentation, strategy, tactics, etc. Big team project with three in-class presentations and ~60 powerpoint slides as a final deliverable. Case studies. Lots of work, but worthwhile.
The professor: Britta is great. She has 10 years of experience as Director of Marketing for Foster Farms, and I guess she liked it so much she married one of the Fosters. She has a lot of practical ‘product warfare’ examples, and was very familiar with all of the topics and material we covered.
The course: Bobby, Evelina, and I joined three upper-year students, Tara, Anthony, and Jamaal, for our group project. We chose to assume the role of strategists for Trojan Condoms, and our project focused on the Chinese re-introduction of Trojan as an ultra-premium brand and the new launch of a low-cost (but highly reliable) brand we called “Safe Love Condoms”.
I think we made our project more challenging than it needed to be, but I can unequivocally state that I loved it. We continually revised our plan during four in-class presentations, building strategies that we thought would work in China, eventually focusing on attaching our low-cost brand to rural factory migrants.
In addition to the project, we also read six cases and prepared three written analyses. The cases were interesting and relevant, but pretty formulaic. I think everyone in the class came to the same conclusions, there wasn’t much (any?) disagreement about what the subject companies should do. I wonder if some cases are more open ended? I don’t like finding “the answer”. There’s no such thing!
Britta and the class content were quite similar to Jenni and the material presented just one quarter ealier in MGB204. Britta and Jenni both have cute names with i’s that should be dotted with little hearts. They both have 10yrs experience as marketers in the consumer goods space. Britta did a better job: the material was more structured, the grading scheme was more transparent, and the grading wasn’t “relative”.
The grade: I got an A. I give Britta and the class an A+.