Schulich students capture national championship

The National Brandstorm Champions. From left, Timothy Mark, Joanna Silva and Callie Pak

Schulich undergraduate students Callie Pak, Timothy Mark and Joanna Silva defeated participants from some of Canada’s top business schools to win the 2012 L’Oréal Brandstorm marketing competition. The intrepid trio won the national finals on March 28.

As national champions, the Schulich team will fly to Paris, France to compete in the international finals set for June 13 and14.

One of the most demanding marketing games in the world, L’Oréal Brandstorm challenges students to apply theoretical knowledge from the classroom to the professional experience of an international brand manager. This is the seventh time in nine years a Schulich team has won the national competition and in 2004, three International Bachelor of Business Administration (iBBA) students won the international Brandstorm title in Paris.

The National Brandstorm Champions. From left, Timothy Mark, Joanna Silva and Callie Pak
Right: The National Brandstorm Champions. From left, Timothy Mark, Joanna Silva and Callie Pak

“I’ve been doing marketing competitions since first year and none compare to the scope and magnitude of Brandstorm,” said Mark. “It’s an absolute must for those passionate in pursuing a career in marketing and the hard work is well worth it.”

Of the 70 teams participating in Brandstorm, only six were selected to compete at the national championships in Montréal on March 28th – two from McGill, two from HEC Montréal and two from Schulich. The second Schulich team included Izabella Lukow, Jennie Li and Robbie Gizzie.

 Brandstorm finalists, from left, Jennie Li, Robert Gizzie and Izabella LukowLeft: Brandstorm finalists, from left, Jennie Li, Robert Gizzie and Izabella Lukow

This year, students were asked to develop an iconic or innovative new product or product line for The Body Shop. The Schulich team worked with L’Oréal to design the product packaging, and ad agency Marketel to develop poster advertisements.

“Our team created a new product line and an integrated marketing communications plan for The Body Shop,” explained Mark. “In addition, we set a new direction for the brand’s image, redesigned the retail experience for consumers and estimated financial targets for our plan.”

In developing their strategy, the team benefited from the coaching of Schulich MBA marketing instructor Joe Fayt, a service marketing professional with over 20 years of experience in marketing, sales and client servicing.

“I was very proud of both of our teams,” said Fayt. “Their presentations were innovative, professional and demonstrated the high calibre of Schulich students. I was inspired by their energy and enthusiasm. It was a real pleasure working with all of them.”

What makes the Schulich team’s win impressive is that one of their team members is currently participating in a student exchange in Shanghai, China and flew home to Canada for just one week to compete in the Brandstorm finals.

“Flying back from exchange to participate was a great experience,” said Pak. “Although the team had to work twice as hard due to our 12 hour time difference, it was well worth it! I’m looking forward to seeing all the other great ideas in Paris.”

The Schulich students will face stiff competition in June at the international Brandstorm finals. Thirty-nine teams from business schools across the globe will be contending for the grand prize, €10,000 (approximately $13,000 CAD).

“We’re all excited for Paris, but we know that the work doesn’t stop now,” said Silva. “Competing at the international finals will require us to apply a more global outlook to our original idea. Nevertheless, I’m confident in our team’s ability to do so.”

As a result of participating in the Brandstorm competition, all three members of the winning Schulich team have received job offers from L’Oréal – graduating students Pak and Mark received full-time offers and Silva, who is completing her third year, was offered a summer internship. Lukow of the second Schulich team has also received an offer for a full-time position at L’Oréal.