The Management Development Programme, UKZN Extended Learning’s flagship programme, began the first block of its five block structure, Strategic Marketing Management on the 17th February 2016. 57 delegates descended upon the Unite Building whereby the module was initiated by a marketing game, aptly named “The Rookie”. In keeping with the theme of understanding the challenges facing the current and global business environment, the objective of which, was to essentially throw delegates into the deep end, and break fixed mind-sets of what their perceptions or preconceived ideas regarding marketing as a whole entailed. The 7 groups were each given a start-up loan of R250. 00, and were required to establish a business on the Howard College campus of UKZN to sell any product or service to staff and students. Products and services ranged from massages and an office cleaning service to a mobile vendor selling sweets and cigarettes to a raffle card competition.
The following day at 10:00am, the profits were calculated with the winning group earning a total net profit of R766. 20. The amount raised in totality by all 7 groups was R1972.65 after which delegates dug deep into their own pocket contributing to a total figure of R2500.00. UEL will match the equivalent and the proceeds will be awarded to a charity of the winning group’s choice.
This exercise, which can be used as an effective tool to practically apply skills and knowledge, forces participants to think creatively, to think out of the box and to act out of their comfort zones. It also teaches them about group work, where for the majority of delegates, did not know each other. It also instils a sense of accountability, innovation and competition, whereby philanthropy and social entrepreneurship are at the forefront.
While the weather proved temperamental during the selling process, the general consensus amongst delegates was that you don’t need a pocket full of cash to start a good business, but merely a good idea. During the remainder of the Strategic Marketing Management block session, the facilitator Dr Anesh Singh shall incorporate the theory along with lessons learnt from this practical exercise in terms of the opportunity it gave to experience business the way it happens on ground level.