Example Project

Past Final Presentations

Please note that the following past presentations have had results omitted for privacy purposes

The Problem

The company came to us with a technology that was geared toward a single market and market application. Since the technology provided distinct advantages over competing technologies, they wondered if there were any other untapped applications for their technology, as well as any other markets that could be more appealing in order to enter the market faster.

Timeline

Initial learning period

The company gave us their sales pitch and tried to sell the technology to us. It was important that we approved of the technology in order for us to promote it later in the semester! We asked many detailed questions about the technology and its relevance. The company even demonstrated a prototype for us. We then discussed the potential markets and applications. We lacked experience in this area, so the first meeting felt like a fishing expedition. Before the second meeting, we all brushed up on the basic knowledge, tapped the easy Google finds, and perused library resources.

After our second meeting, we calibrated the scope of our project given that we were expected to work 4 hours a week for about 8-9 more weeks. We decided that we would spend 1-2 weeks brainstorming since the company was interested in uncovering new markets. We then spent half of our time loosely screening the potential markets until two remained. To make sure we weren't in over our heads, we collaborated with the VMS mentors who approved of our project timeline and gave us some great advice on how to conduct our searches.

Market brainstorming and broad screening

Our brainstorming was all over the place. Since the team members came from an eclectic background, we came up with some pretty wild ideas. The company dismissed some immediately, but others they thought merited further thought! We brainstormed a list of about 5 market categories and 15 specific markets. We developed some very loose criteria to evaluate the markets, including technology requirements, market size, and competition.

In-depth screening

After weeks, we whittled the list down to our two most promising markets. The easy numerical data available was quickly snatched up from Google. We focused the next four weeks on getting some fieldwork done. We called and e-mailed experts in our targeted industries as well as perceived leaders in their fields. Useful contacts required some time to cultivate, but we had many great interviews and responses. In turn, this gave us insight into their needs and their stance on how our technology would fare against existing competitors. We also gained some perspective on the processes required to enter the industries, including the types of people involved in evaluating products and purchasing decisions.

Final analysis and report

The calls trickled in until the end, but we took a couple of weeks to summarize all of the results that we found. We put everything into a PowerPoint file in an accessible format so that the company could use it as a reference in the future.

Overall thoughts

I really enjoyed meeting face to face with the CEO every week and being able to talk to him directly. He helped to recalibrate our focus. Not only did gain experience on how to approach a market research problem, but we also learned a lot about the industry and start-ups in general. The CEO had many great anecdotes about the industry, locating venture capital and starting his own company.

 

Past Companies

 

The students added significant value to the company by recruiting and conducting focus groups with potential customers in two market segments. The students made the initial contact and organized and ran these focus groups.
Tim McCaffery
CEO, Lime Design, Inc.