Swansea University students pitch their way to success

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A team of three Business Management students from Swansea University impressed Wales’ leading marketers with a winning presentation at Brolio / The Pitch, a competition organised by The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) with the support of Big Ideas Wales, a Welsh Government-led campaign that aims to inspire young people to start their own businesses.

Brolio / The Pitch saw students from 12 universities and colleges across the country tasked with developing a communications plan for the National Trust in Wales that would help raise awareness of its volunteer opportunities amongst young audiences in Wales.

The students were given a detailed brief and asked to consider budgets, audiences, communication tools and evaluation in their pitch, to give them an understanding of a real-life business scenario.

The teams presented their ideas throughout the day, before three teams were chosen to return and pitch to a panel of industry experts at the Senedd during an evening event. Judges included Jade Bourke, Marketing Manager at Caerphilly based DS Smith Recycling, Jo Cartwright, Property Manager for the National Trust’s Tredegar House, and Cardiff-born Angela Gidden MBE, a highly established and renowned UK designer.

Swansea University students Maria del Rocio Garcia Rodriguez Arana, Juan Manuel Salguero and Charlotte Vlahavas, called Entretres team (meaning ‘between three’ in Spanish), presented their winning campaign based on the theme ‘University of Life’.

The Pitch winners

The concept of their campaign revolved around a branded white wall, where young people were encouraged to write on it their aims and aspirations, which they could then share via pictures and video on social media. This was supported by branded T-shirts, use of QR codes and carried the strapline ‘I want to be…  Start today.’ The campaign message highlighted that by volunteering for the National Trust, young people could gain a huge amount of value through the University of Life. Alongside their creative excellence, the team ensured that the campaign was tightly budgeted with clear, SMART objectives. 

Maria del Rocio Garcia Rodriguez Arana, 21 year old Swansea University student and member of Entretres, said: “I am both excited and relieved that our hard work paid off! We thought of a fresh idea and we communicated it with passion - big ideas do not come from the head, they come from the heart. The Pitch was a great opportunity for me to do what I enjoy the most and put the skills we’ve learned to the test and hopefully it’ll be a stepping stone to getting a job in the marketing industry.”

Richard Houdmont, Director for Wales of The Chartered Institute of Marketing, said: “Brolio/The Pitch was created to give marketing students in Wales the opportunity to use their skills in a real business context, which is invaluable experience when entering into a tough job market.

“Entretres demonstrated creative flair, strategic thinking and financial expertise, using innovative and cost-effective marketing tools like social media channels and QR codes, to engage with a difficult to reach audience. And most importantly, they had the opportunity to showcase these skills to a wide audience and potential employers.”

Dr Nicole Koenig-Lewis, the team’s mentor and Senior Lecturer in Marketing at Swansea University, said: “I am very proud of our students who faced tough competition from other universities at Brolio/The Pitch. This event was a great opportunity for them to showcase their skills and to apply the knowledge gained on their courses. The networking opportunities during the day were excellent and the whole experience will certainly benefit the students when they apply for jobs after graduation.”

Huw Thomas, Marketing Assistant at DS Smith Recycling and finalist at Brolio / The Pitch 2012, added: “As a result of taking part in the challenge last year, I was approached by one of the judges and given the opportunity to apply for a marketing position at the company where she worked. The experience gave me an opportunity to showcase my skills and stand out from the crowd, leading to a job in such a competitive industry.”

The winning students were presented with certificates by Julie Morgan, Assembly Member for Cardiff North. The winners will also receive a year’s affiliate membership of The Chartered Institute of Marketing, a visit to the Llandudno Wales Office to present the winning pitch to the National Trust’s Wales Senior Team, and a free annual National Trust membership for each of the three winners.

Picture: Entretres (L-R) Maria del Rocio Garcia Rodriguez Arana, Juan Manuel Salguero and Charlotte Vlahavas.