MBA students partner with Kellogg to bring capstone project to life
Lindner’s business problem solvers inspire Mother’s Day campaign
Four recent graduates of the Carl H. Lindner College of Business full-time MBA program partnered with the Kellogg Company to solve a real-world business problem facing the organization. The insights uncovered by the students were used to inform one of the company’s recent Mother’s Day campaigns.
As part of their capstone requirement, Brittany Elliott, Jack Perez, CEAS '20, Cameron Sasala, CECH '21, and Sam Shockley, A&S '19, all 2022 MBA graduates, collaborated to offer solutions that would allow Kellogg to better engage the multi-cultural consumer segment.
“Kellogg Company and the University of Cincinnati have been long-standing partners in the development of the MBA students during the annual capstone engagement. During the capstone project last year, the students developed a comprehensive multi-cultural recommendation that we were able to utilize at a major retailer,” said Mike Ross, MBA '02, vice president of Kellogg Company’s Albertsons team. “The multi-cultural consumer is the fastest-growing segment and is a critical consumer group to engage with. The Mom’s Little Steps program that was executed this year was a result of the great work of the 2022 MBA students. We look forward to continuing the partnership with the University of Cincinnati.”
The students were tasked with analyzing multi-cultural buying habits in Albertson’s. Through their research, the team realized the importance of family when it came to the grocery shopping experience. Social media also emerged as a vital channel for communicating with this consumer segment, in addition to in-store activations. Using their findings, the students formulated recommendations for potential campaigns and what channels and mediums to activate to target consumers.
Utilizing the student’s research insights and recommendations, Ross and his team launched the 2023 Mom’s Little Steps campaign.
“UC prides itself on bringing the ‘real world’ into the classroom,” said Rajan Kamath, PhD, associate professor of management and the project’s adviser. “Our students’ 2022 capstone project and its outcome, the 2023 Mother’s Day campaign, are a great example of how the rubber meets the road in our Lindner full-time MBA.”
The MBA capstone
The Lindner full-time MBA program — ranked as the No. 37 full-time, public MBA program in the country by Bloomberg Businessweek — offers students the opportunity to explore a myriad of opportunities. With more than 20 options for specialization, students walk away with the knowledge and experience to tackle real-world business problems.
In 2015, the program introduced a structured, 14-week experiential capstone project. The introduction of this requirement aligned with UC and Lindner’s commitment to experiential learning. Students receive an ecosystem of support comprised of a faculty coach, a project sponsor and an alumni mentor throughout the process.
I truly think that I wouldn't have gotten the job that I have right now if it wasn't for my MBA coursework. If I had to do it all over again, I would. I don't have any regrets. I loved the program. I loved everything about UC. Lindner’s a great college, and I would recommend this program to anybody.
Cameron Sasala CECH '21. MBA '22
The MBA capstone’s purpose is four-fold:
- Expand upon what is taught in the classroom to the world of work
- Establish a bridge between Lindner, its students and potential employers
- Connect students with alumni
- Show students how they can tap into the expertise of the college’s research faculty for real-world, business problem solving
The Lindner MBA experience
Lindner offers flexible pathways toward pursuing an MBA, accommodating professionals at any stage in their careers.
“I learned a lot from people in my class. Not everyone went from their undergrad into their grad program,” Sasala said. “A lot of them had prior experience. There were people that had been in the real world for five to 10 years.”
Sasala, who originally studied sports administration with dreams of becoming an athletics director, discovered a passion for supply-chain management at Lindner. This enthusiasm, combined with the experience he gained through the MBA program, led Sasala to his current role as a transportation procurement specialist with Nestle.
“There are hundreds of businesses that need MBA skills but have not — for a variety of reasons — taken the plunge to hire a UC MBA,” said Kamath. “This deliberate try-before-buy opportunity opens the door to new and exciting growth opportunities for our grads.”
The experiences and the support network students receive create a valuable and unique program that keeps alumni engaged and propels graduates forward.
“I truly think that I wouldn't have gotten the job that I have right now if it wasn't for my MBA coursework. If I had to do it all over again, I would. I don't have any regrets,” said Sasala. “I loved the program. I loved everything about UC. Lindner’s a great college, and I would recommend this program to anybody.”
Featured image at top courtesy of Adobe Stock.
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