Venture Out is the University of Manchester’s signature student ideas competition, run by the Manchester Enterprise Centre. The 2016/17 Venture Out Competition is now open, and The Mancunion has the insider knowledge on how valuable the Venture Out experience has been to one Alliance Manchester Business School graduate.
Recent Master of Marketing graduate Katerina Andronikaki entered Manchester Enterprise Centre’s Venture Out initiative in 2015 in order to put her studies to the test and challenge herself and her marketing knowledge.
Katerina entered the PZ Cussons innovation challenge, one of Venture Out’s five competition categories, and was tasked with developing a creative digital marketing idea for Original Source—PZ Cussons’ personal care brand.
Her proposal, Original X-Source, hinges on the idea of collaboration. Inspired by the powerful impact of YouTube influencers on similar brand campaigns, Katerina positioned Original Source as a post-exercise indulgence product that can promote a healthy mind-set, and suggested enlisting the support of prominent health and wellbeing vloggers to help spread her message.
Katerina’s idea was awarded second place in the category, which gave her the opportunity to meet with PZ Cussons directors and senior brand managers at the company’s headquarters near Manchester Airport, to see first-hand how ideas are set into motion.
“Entering Venture Out was an invaluable experience for me. Visiting the PZ Cussons headquarters, learning about the company from within and being able to witness how they craft and execute marketing strategies was truly inspirational. I was even lucky enough to be part of a new product launch, in collaboration with PZ Cussons’ media agencies, which gave me a fantastic insight into the FMCG industry,” explains Katerina.
Leaving her home town in Greece in 2015, Katerina moved to Manchester to begin her Masters at Alliance Manchester Business School, part of the University of Manchester. Attracted by its reputation as one of the UK’s most respected business schools, Katerina was keen to pursue its “intensive yet engaging” marketing programme, and was also awarded the MBS Masters Scholarship.
“Venture Out also had a significant impact on my studies, inspiring my final research paper entitled: ‘Consumer-perceived innovativeness: High-tech products versus FMCGs.” Through my experience with PZ Cussons, I was able to find out about the company’s innovation strategy and how they capitalise on emerging trends, which prompted me to investigate consumer attitudes towards FMCG innovation.
Katerina describes Venture Out as an experience “not to be missed” for any student interested in putting their studies to the test, and meeting like-minded individuals: “I would not hesitate to recommend the Venture Out experience. Anyone with an idea for a business, marketing strategy or social cause should go for it; you have nothing to lose, and whatever stage of the competition you reach it encourages you to challenge yourself, and to think carefully about how you can apply your knowledge and studies to develop solutions to real-life problems.”
Entries for Venture Out 2016 close on 7th November, and the finals will be held on Tuesday 6th December at the Roscoe Building.