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Exciting times for Marketing Practice Final Year Students

Sean McDonald, Dylan Garbutt and Mia Kidd in the Near FM Studio

In the final year of the BA (Hons) Marketing Practice at NCI, students undertake a capstone project rather than a thesis.

e-Commerce with Shopify
The most recent class were guided by an expert team of NCI lecturers, alongside Gary Mullin from Shopify, who partnered with the College to help students establish ecommerce businesses on the platform. 

As a marketing graduate about to enter the workforce, it is a powerful thing to be able to state on your CV that you conceived of, market-researched, designed, product-sourced, and delivered a viable online business!

Face-to-face with customers at Swords Pavilions
This year saw an additional opportunity present itself to final year students, as Assistant Professor David Hurley explains:

Swords Pavilions shopping centre were so kind to our students, providing them with weekend pop-up space in order to sell their brand-new products to the public. This was the ultimate test – can the students sell their products to real people? The answer was an emphatic yes! Each group made a handsome profit over the weekend but more crucially left with an incredible experience. NCI is really grateful to Ian Hunter and Pamela Grochowska for the opportunity.”

Tuning into NearFM
Myra Gleeson of Near FM was so impressed with the students when she saw them at the Swords Pavilions that she offered a morning interview on her programme ‘Lifeline’. Despite some initial nerves, the students who were able to take this chance soon got into the swing of things and spoke with Myra for nearly 45 minutes about their businesses and their Marketing Practice degree at NCI.

Cut and Polished
“Being out in the Pavilions was a fantastic experience and opportunity to showcase our hard work to the public. To have the chance to then broadcast our company on a live radio programme was incredible, with thanks to Myra, which will hopefully give us the chance to go even bigger,” says Seán McDonald.

Seán, Mark Drumm and Rory McDonough set up Cut & Polished, a company that upcycles glass bottles. Taking a sustainable approach to the process, Cut & Polished reduces waste by reusing ‘empties’ to make vases and glasses, offering unique giftware at attractive prices. 

The Date Deck
Dylan Garbutt and his girlfriend of five years, Sasha Williams, noticed that the same tired suggestions for dating activities crop up repeatedly. Not only have they come up with some exciting new ideas (that are budget-wise), but they’ve created a fun way of finding out which activity a couple would most like - their deck of 35 scratch cards will let you reveal the mystery date that best suits you!

Dylan tells us: “Bringing The Date Deck to the Pavilions shopping centre was nerve-racking but the experience of selling in a large shopping centre and gaining market feedback was invaluable to us as a small business – seriously, big thanks to Ian and Pamela for supplying us with the space and providing lots of advice and support. And we seized the opportunity to talk about The Date Deck on live radio – it was so much fun and, thanks to NearFM, we know we’d love to do more things like that in the future.”

Selkies and Co.
When challenged to come up with her own e-commerce business, Mia Kidd drew on her ten years’ experience in hairdressing to market a universal shower head that can be filled with stone beads made from different minerals, which reduce the hardness of water, leading to more efficient product use and healthier skin and hair. Not only is water pH-balanced, but this shower head reduces water usage and limescale build-up on your shower unit as well. She calls her business Selkies and Co.

“NCI is a college that has helped me become the person I never even knew I could become! They have helped me so much in my career, my future, and personally,” says Mia. “Our lecturers, like David Hurley and Dermot Bradfield, have been encouraging us from the start. Then the College itself has been so supportive – Bertie Kelly, the Commercial Director, organised office space for us, so that we could develop our business ideas. Getting to work with Gary Mullin from Shopify is something most marketing undergraduates don’t get to do. And then, not only setting up my own business online but getting to bring it on-site in the Swords Pavilion – I spoke to so many customers, learned so many skills - and then to speak about Selkies and Co. on Near FM was just an opportunity I never thought I’d have… it’s all been really exciting!”

Marketing Practice at NCI
If you want to learn how marketing works and apply your knowledge to set up your own business, maybe Marketing Practice at NCI is for you? You can learn more about the honours degree here.

And to hear directly about the students' experience, listen back to Mia (Selkies & Co.) and Dylan (The Date Deck) and to Seán and Mark (Cut and Polished) on NearFM.

Mia Kidd, Sean McDonald and Dylan Garbutt at NearFM