The German company PUMA is participating this year in the Challenge 2017, a project started six years ago by the UPF Barcelona School of Management which seeks to move towards a new comprehensive model for learning based on the resolution of real business challenges and which really connects the students with the professional world. The challenge that PUMA has set for the students revolves around knowledge of their customers through a digital strategy. That is, how they can better relate with their customers through the internet and social networks and create real and emotional experiences that they can identify and connect with. For a company, this understanding is the most valuable when it comes to creating really effective marketing strategies and plans.
In this year's challenge, some one hundred students from different countries and from 8 different Masters of Science programs are taking part: Banking and Finance, Marketing, Business Analytics, IT, International Business, Entrepreneurship and Management. "This is a cross-disciplinary project that aims to test a new collaborative format based on shared learning, group work and the relationship between different areas", explains Daniel Serra, dean of the UPF Barcelona School of Management.
For two weeks, university, business and students work intensively through a virtual platform, where creativity and innovation sessions are held and ideas, proposals and even business models are shared. The company's role in the entire process is very important because it is not just about setting a challenge and leaving the students get to work; rather, it involves a truly collaborative approach between company and university to discuss and work together on real challenges.
The presentation of Challenge 2017 forms part of the welcome session for the international students of the UPF Barcelona School of Management, where they get to meet the directors and professors of their programs, they are shown the facilities of the Ciutadella campus and the Professional Careers service is presented. From the very first day, the students are told about the importance of taking part in the Challenge as a project that fosters closer collaboration between company and university. "Education is not just the transmission of knowledge or skills, it involves creating an experience in itself. With the Challenge, students are faced with real business challenges and develop skills and abilities in a more versatile manner, while companies observe, identify and attract young talent for their pool of professionals", concludes Serra.