[Reflection] Finishing first term year 4

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Phew…. So finally this challenging term has ended. Looking back, I am glad that I chose New Product Development and Integrated Marketing Communications this term. Tim Silk and Ann Stone are definitely my two most favourite professors ever, as they have a lot of knowledge and experience to share with the class.

Two years in Marketing option exposed me to a lot of teamwork and projects. I think by now I have dealt with all kinds of people with different work ethics. I have worked with those slackers who gave a shit about group work and somehow still managed to look like the world owe them something. Thanks God I don’t have any of those people in my group this term or else my term would be in hell. But last year I was inexperienced and put up with that attitude; if that happens again, I won’t tolerate any more. On the other hand, I have also worked with a few people who were super responsible and super brilliant. Too bad, good things rarely last long, and I have come to accept the fact that I can never be in the same team with them again. This year, I am grateful that the members in my group are responsible and dedicated, although not to the extent that I wish they could be. I am sure that the projects I worked on this term would be much better if my group mates were willing to pay extra effort. Working in a group can be really challenging if your team members do not share the same goal with you. Sometimes, your good ideas might be scrapped just because the rest of your team do not want to go beyond the acceptable level. I am still pretty mad that all the concerns I raised are not acknowledged by my group, but are exactly what the professors point out later.  If only my group were willing to work harder, the result could be much better. I do not want to be too pushy or demanding, but sometimes it’s hard to see that what I care about does not match my standard and expectation. That doesn’t mean I am right in everything, but there are valid points that my group refuse to work on just because the deadline is close and they do not want to change. So after I see my prof’s comments, which spot on what I told my group before, I just want to yell “In your face, people”. Anyway, it’s all over and everyone has a life, so I won’t delve on it further.

Despite some bad experience with group work, I really enjoy the two courses I took. For New Product Development course, I learned the discipline to create a completely new product, from generating idea to optimizing product design. So basically, my group had to do unobtrusive observations, concept engineering questions, structured brainstorming to generate ideas. After that, we did another interview round to decide which consumer needs we need to optimize for the product. It’s unfortunate that we could not do final concept testing due to the short length of the course. The thing I appreciate the most about this course is that it destroys the illusion students usually have about first mover advantage, as well as to teach us how to think critically about barriers to adoption and trade-off when designing the product. Great product idea does not come out of thin air, but should always be based on consumer needs. I don’t really like the industry my group decides to work in, but I am pretty content with the final product idea. I also learn a lot from other groups, and it amazes me of how bright my classmates are.

Integrated Marketing Communications is awesome, and that is why I even made a separate post for it. The term kicked off with a positioning assignment, then following by a Coca Cola creative brief. Playing the client side and presenting to creative team was pretty difficult because you must engage creative people to work on your assignment. Also, writing a creative brief teaches me that it is actually quite hard to give an assignment that is specific enough but still gives enough space for the creative team to get their awesome juice flow. Some teams are so great at presenting, and I’m just in awe with so many great public speakers in my class. If only they could share a little bit of their charismatic with me. The last project is to give a pitch to a public utility corporation in the province, which can be considered as a client. The experience I went through for the last project is pretty interesting.The client gave us their problem, and we had to plan a campaign for them, together with making creative pieces. The project is particularly challenging because there is no product to sell, no tangible benefit, so we don’t sell a product, we are selling an idea.  My group planned a campaign called “Be Green, Not Extreme”. In terms of creativity, we had to write a script for TV commercial, draw storyboard, create a multi-functional postcard, and design the layout for a website. While my group’s pitch did not score well enough in terms of clarity (we explain much better in the report), the visuals were praised by my prof, who is a strict marker, so I am really happy about that. Too bad my group’s pitch is not the best in the class, but after all, what’s important is the lesson.

I am so happy that I’m done with the first term. For my short holidays, I just want to lay on bed and read/watch the things I missed during the term, like Mad Men. I went to see The Hobbit 2 yesterday, and man, it’s so great, even better than what I imagined when I read the book. Next week I’m going to see Catching Fire, heard it’s a good movie too. Sometimes I wish I could work in the movie production industry, it would be so much fun.

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