FruChocs form career foundation

Rebecca Stone and Sarah ZankerDecember 2010

A research project to understand customer perceptions of one of South Australia's iconic brands has given two UniSA marketing students the industry experience they will need to find a job.

First year marketing students Rebecca Stone and Sarah Zanker have just completed the Marketing Practicum, an experiential learning initiative that gives students the opportunity to conduct a marketing research project for a real business.

Stone and Zanker spent 16 weeks working on a project for the Adelaide-based organisation Robern Menz, creator of family favourite, FruChocs.

"The aim of the project was to identify FruChocs target market in terms of demographics and purchase behaviour as well as uncover customer perceptions about the brand", said Zanker.

The project comes at an exciting time for Robern Menz, following a complete re-brand and the launch of 'Giant FruChocs' earlier this year.

During the project, Stone and Zanker ran focus groups and customer intercept surveys.  They also conducted observational research in supermarkets and collated findings from an online questionnaire.

"We learn about market research in class, but it was great to test the different methodologies ourselves.  There would be few graduates who could say 'I have facilitated a focus group''", said Zanker.

The pair received guidance and advice throughout the project from their UniSA project coordinator Dr Karen Nelson-Field.

Dr Nelson-Field stresses the importance of students getting practical experience while studying.

"Employers today are looking for graduates with more than just a degree.  They are looking for graduates who have experience they can bring to their organisation.  The Practicum offers students solid marketing experience in a real working environment; giving them an edge over other graduates", she said.

"Host companies love the Marketing Practicum because it gives them the chance to not only support the student community but also gain consultant level assistance.  Students love the Practicum because it gives them a chance to apply their knowledge to a real-life marketing problem and it introduces them to networking while they are still at uni".

Stone and Zanker are looking forward to graduating and feel confident that their recent experience will help them get jobs.

"The Practicum ties everything we have learnt in our degree together and now we have a real marketing plan to show to employers in interviews", Stone said.

"I would definitely recommend the Practicum to students.  Not only is it a great stepping stone to full-time work but it's lots of fun and very rewarding".

The Marketing Practicum is just one of the special study options available to undergraduate marketing students at the School of Marketing.

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