MARS Studio

Reimagining the Classroom

In an ever-shifting, fast-paced business environment, companies are looking more and more for multidisciplinary skill-sets in future employees. In order to prepare students for this highly digital and technological world, the AUT Business School has combined four separate business majors to create Market Insights: Marketing, Advertising, Retailing and Sales.

The recently introduced three-year course works on the premise that marketing, advertising, retailing and sales don’t operate in isolation or in single marketplaces. Consumers and organisations are interacting in completely new ways and, to be able to compete in today’s business environment, graduates need an understanding of all of these closely related fields. “We realised that businesses want integrated generalists, so we thought we’d do it a different way,” says Professor Roger Marshall, one of the leaders of the MI:MARS (for Marketing Insights: Marketing, Advertising, Retailing & Sales) major. “For instance, you can’t be a good advertising person unless you’ve got a good grasp behind the psychology of marketing management.” The first year serves as an introduction to fundamental business concepts, while the second year equips students with the tools and ideas to go forward. The third year is all about applications, which is where Market Insights’ dedicated studio comes in. The studio is a space for students to study, learn, and work on their group projects. “All the students are encouraged to do primary research, such as surveying their peers or surveying people online,” says PhD student and Market Insights: Marketing, Advertising, Retailing and Sales teaching assistant Drew Franklin.

“They’re also encouraged to do things like prototyping and concept testing. One group working on a sports drink have been prototyping bottle shapes and sizes, and then using the colour 3D printer to print and test these out.” Also in the third year, students are work in teams of four on a real project, alongside the help of a business mentor. “We’ve got over 40 business mentors and they keep the students grounded in reality by asking the hard questions, such as whether they have a sustainable supply chain,” explains Professor Marshall. “Then at the end of the semester, we have a conference where all of the student teams present their projects to mentors, fellow students and staff. It’s sort of a friendly Dragon’s Den.” With real-life projects and workplace experiences, the course aims to reflect industry applicability, allowing students to be more effective when they hit the workplace. “We have all sorts of industry involvement, from insurance to manufacturing, and they’re able to lend a real tactical eye to the project,” says Franklin, who brings his own marketing and media insights and experience to his teaching. “It’s got to be practical. As well as being business thought-leaders, we’re training young people for business,” adds Professor Marshall. “It’s part of the university’s approach to link more with business, and this is a very good way for students and academics to build a profile and find out what it is that the industry wants in new recruits.”

Presenting work in the MARS studio
Working in the MARS studio
MARS studio

Last updated: 26-Jul-2017 3.16pm

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.