Students help U.S. Olympic squad build its brand
Thunderbird School of Global Management students met with the U.S. men’s water polo team in Los Angeles to analyze the team’s brand strengths and weaknesses, gather market research and put together a plan that the U.S. squad can incorporate into its overall business strategy.
Many sports fans know little about water polo, but the four students in Rick Baer’s global brand management class are working to change this. They are part of a class competition that gives students real-world experience by pairing them with companies that pay for Thunderbird consultation.
“Water polo can be a really popular sport in the next generation in the United States,” said brand management student Tzu-Yao “Robin” Lin of Taiwan. “Almost everybody knows water polo in California. If the sport can be popular in California, then why not in the whole United States?”
The students will present their plans Aug. 14 to a council of senior-level marketing professionals. Written proposals and videotaped presentations also will be sent to the corporate partners.
“We want to win our class competition,” said Thunderbird student Jeffrey Sinor of Hawaii. “But we feel a stake in U.S. men’s water polo. We feel part of this team. They came to us with a problem, and we want to help them find a solution.”
Other teams in Baer’s class are developing brand plans for the Target India human resources office and Croissants de France, a bakery that has expanded to China. Baer said he created the competition about five years ago to help students gain real-world experience.
Students in the class appreciate the opportunity. “This is the best class at Thunderbird,” Sinor said. “This is not pretend. This is it. This is what we’re here for. It’s everything I wanted in my Thunderbird education.”
Besides Sinor and Lin, the water polo branding team from Thunderbird includes Ai-Ting Wang of Taiwan and Yusuke Ishizaka of Japan.