By NATHAN GREGORY
Mississippi State University business association master’s students will test out their big class project when they sell homemade sweets to students on the Drill Field during the Bulldog Challenge.
Their overall goal, however, is much larger than finding the most effective ways to sell their products or making the grade.
The challenge puts five teams of students in the MBA program’s strategic marketing management class against each other in a competition to sell the most goods and raise money for the Nick Bell Mentoring Memorial Foundation.
The scholarship fund, named after the MSU football player who died in 2010 after battling synovial carcinoma, helps graduating high school seniors with college expenses. The foundation was started by Bell’s mother, Linda, in 2011.
MBA student Caroline Bustin is in a group making “cake pops,” which she said is a ball-shaped mixture of chocolate-and-icing-covered cake on a stick.
“The competition was created to give us a real-world idea to market a product. The idea is to simulate a market environment where we compete against each other. Nobody knows what either team is doing in terms of promotion,” Bustin said. “Everybody keeps their stuff a huge secret, and then the day of the challenge it’s an all-out brawl for customers. The overall goal of the project is to get people interested in buying your product.”
Bustin said her group is also holding a raffle to give away an all-access pass to an MSU football practice.
Karen Griffin, another student in the course, is in a group which will sell cookie dough bites and brownies to benefit the foundation along with items donated by past MSU football players Derek Sherrod and Anthony Dixon, as well as a signed football from head coach Dan Mullen.
“This has been a fun and unique project that is actually going to impact somebody else besides us. It’s more than a grade; it’s more than a game or competition,” Griffin said. “The funds will go to people that need him. (Bell’s) mother has established a foundation that communicates the legacy I’m sure he wanted to leave.”
Bustin said she’s looking forward to seeing how much the project can benefit the foundation.
“We want to raise as much money as we can because it’s a meaningful organization for the MSU student body,” Bustin said. “We’re trying to send a high school student to college that would otherwise not get to go.”