Marketing Students Created Proposals for the Museum in Blagoevgrad
Over 100 students from five marketing courses worked on strategies to promote the Regional Historical Museum in Blagoevgrad. The final project for each of the courses required students to apply the knowledge gained throughout the semester and prepare proposals on initiatives, campaigns and solutions for the modernization of the local museum and its engagement with new audiences.
“It felt like a real-life project, given the fact that we were working for a real company’s case," said Bulgarian student Gabriela Groitsova, who worked on a case for her class in Consumer Behaviour.
While the tradition so far has been for students to work on a product from a company in the private sector, this semester they were challenged to get to know the NGO world, dive into the spirit of Bulgarian museums, and generate low-cost marketing ideas. At the end of October, the students received feedback for their final projects that they presented in front of their professors, the museum director Kiril Aleksiev, and the project lead Tsvetana Haydushka ('20).
"The fact that we had the meeting with the museum's director, and listened to what he had to say, I really wanted to help out so the whole project was just really thinking of realistic ways to implement our proposal," said Serbian student Mila Mladenov.
The students said that the project was challenging but they also saw it as a cause and a mission to help out the local museum attract more people who could explore its hidden treasures. “We made a marketing analysis for an institution for the first time, which made me feel as a more socially responsible and active citizen,“ said Sabel Basheva from Bulgaria, who also worked on the project.
“This was a great opportunity for all involved,” said Professor Carter Mandrik. “The students were able to apply the things they were learning in a hands-on consulting project, which made it both interesting for them and a great way to learn while doing. Truly a win-win!”
While the project was new to professor Mandrik, who had his first semester teaching introductory Marketing classes at AUBG, Professor Rossen Petkov has been working on projects of such kind for about 10 years. Apart from the introductory Marketing courses, this semester he was working with the students from his Consumer Behavior and Marketing Strategy courses.
“For 17 semesters now we have been using small businesses for the applied marketing consulting project,” said Petkov. ”I usually have to research, select and recruit businesses in advance. In these most strange times there were two positive surprises: one, alumna [Tsvetana Haydushka] proactively approached me and suggested we use the Museum as a client. Two, it is always interesting to work with an actual real customer and for students to get experience with tackling a true, not simulated problem or opportunity, but at the same time working for the museum, as a non-for-profit, seemed to also be more inspiring and engaging to both the professors and the students.”
The initiator and project lead - Tsvetana Haydushka ('20) shared that the biggest challenge for her was to part away from her affiliation to the museum and introduce the students to the assignment in an informative, but rather neutral way. “The outcome was more than intriguing," she said after watching the students’ final presentations. "There are definitely ideas that could be adjusted to the needs of the Regional Historical Museum and implemented by the AUBG intern students there."
The assignment involved many bright individuals in the museum work and as we are on the threshold of the new semester, we are staying hopeful that we will see some of the proposals happening in practice very soon. What started as a class project turned into an inspiring mission - “We want Bulgarian museums to flourish”.