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Marketing across disciplines and continents
23 April 2018
On Wednesday, 14 March 2018, the honours students in Marketing Management had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to collaborate with a group of international management students from Rutgers University in New Jersey, USA. This is the third year that Rutgers students visited the Department of Marketing Management as part of their ‘Doing Business in South Africa’ course, to learn about management and marketing practices in South Africa. The Rutgers students admired our beautiful campus during a campus tour, then joined the marketing students in their Strategic Marketing module. The evening ended with a South African braai, kindly sponsored by the Rutgers group.
 
After an official welcome and short introduction on the ‘world-of-work’ approach used in UP’s honours programme, it was Rutgers’ turn to provide a brief background on their ‘study abroad tour’. Prof Snehamay Banerjee (Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs, Rutgers School of Business) also explained the purpose of the class as twofold – to exchange knowledge, but also to gain insights into different cultures. The Rutgers students were very impressed by the hands-on practical approach used in the BCom Honours in Marketing Management programme.
 
The purpose of the joint class between UP and Rutgers students was to get the two student groups to collaborate on a marketing case study. In true South African style, the UP students broke the ice in the group discussion by introducing the Rutgers students to truly South African non-alcoholic beverages such as Appletiser, Iron Brew, Stoney’s ginger beer and Mageu.
 
A case discussion on the role of social media in banking provided a constructive environment for the students to analyse the case and share their thoughts. Some UP students commented that differences between the countries created a platform for learning through thoughtful engagement. The joint class allowed students to get a sense of how people from different parts of the world have different ways of learning and different ways of seeing things. It was very interesting to note how the banking sector and use of social media differed between the two countries. One such example is the high banking costs in South Africa versus almost no costs in the US.
 
Groups consisting of both Rutgers and UP students exchanging ideas
 
The formal class was followed by a typical South African braai at Uitspan on the Hillcrest Campus, where students had the opportunity to enjoy the food and informally get to know one another.
 
Rutgers and UP students enjoying a traditional South African braai
 
There was a great atmosphere and it seemed as though the UP students enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with students from abroad and vice versa. One of our students said: “We were fortunate enough to meet students from Rutgers University, which was a big opportunity for most of the students since many of us have not been abroad. This experience and interaction with students from abroad opened my eyes to opportunities to work and study further abroad, and I made a lot of new friends.”
 
As the evening came to an end, the students exchanged contact details and Facebook invitations. Both student groups left this international collaboration with new insight and respect for different opinions and perspectives.
 
One of our students noted: “We were enormously lucky to have Rutgers here so we could also gain a different perspective and broaden our understanding.” Another student said: “This is what marketing is all about, networking.”
 
What started out as marketing across disciplines and continents, ended with newly found friendships sealed with endless ‘selfies’ to ensure that this evening would be remembered.
 
We hope to continue this tradition by welcoming Rutgers University back next year for another once-in-a-lifetime experience with UP Marketing Management students.
- Author Department of Marketing Management
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Last edited by Liesl OosthuizenEdit