Marketing 612 or Marketing 613?

“Ha that’s odd,” I thought to myself when I saw the spring semester course match results.  I saw I was enrolled in Marketing 612 and Marketing 613.  Thankfully Management 612 taught me to perform a SWOT analysis and I realized course match ability was firmly in my weakness category.  Maybe it was the brilliant manipulative capabilities of marketing but I was convinced to try both and see which one was better 0.5 CU course to take.  The traditional class or the simulation?

 

Instructors:  Extremely important for 612.  Of minor importance for 613

612:  Eric Bradlow – lover of statistics and the occasional curse word

The reviews were accurate.  This guy is really good.  Unlike several Wharton professors, he understands his target audience when teaching (marketing has done him well).  Eric can connect with MBAs and make an 80-minute lecture truly entertaining and valuable.

613:  Bob Meyer – alcohol and guitar connoisseur           

Bob’s initial pre simulation warm up emails came across as entertaining and confident.  Unfortunately his initial lecture brought the enthusiasm down, but as the lectures progressed he really shined.  I would take a class with him again.

Winner:   612.  Do not take 612 with a poorly reviewed professor!

 

Format: 

612:  A mix of lectures and cases

They were all engaging and Eric will provide his blunt opinion for each case.  All other case/lecture based classes can learn a lot by how this class is run.  This along with OPIM 615 taught by Cachon have been the two best case and lecture based courses in Wharton.  Again, do not take 612 with a poorly reviewed professor!

613:  Four ~90 minute long lectures + 3 days & 2 nights of simulation

The lectures were a super condensed version of 612.  A minority of the slides were the same.  The first lectures were weak.  The last ones were enjoyable, thanks to Bob, BMW, Audi, and Bentley.   However, the bulk of the class is conducting the simulation, which consists of your team competing against five other groups.  Unlike Management 610, there are no defined roles.  There are a total of six rounds where you make marketing decision such as, which data studies to purchase, how much to spend on advertising, how many brands to launch, which markets to launch said products, and whether or not to spend money on R&D.

Winner:   Draw

 

Attendance policy

612:  You are treated like a child

You are penalized for not showing up.

613:  You are treated like an adult

No attendance is taken for the lectures.  It’s up to you if you want to learn.

Winner:  613 and maturity (the Bentley ad is directed to 612)

 

Liver damage

612:  None

613:  A lot

But it is entirely dependent on your simulation team dynamics.  Alcohol was encouraged and the marketing department should certainly sponsor booze during the simulation.  Most people in the simulation still went to prom and danced with energy.

Winner:  Benjamin Franklin, the pursuit of happiness, and 613

 

Help, I’m really busy with my start up, trip planning, etc. (work requirements):

612:  ~24 hour requirement

16 for lecture, 3 for case prep, 2 for the midterm, and 3 for the final paper/power point.

613:  ~23 hour requirement (a 95% confidence interval of 8 to 40 hours)

9 for lecture, 12 for simulation decisions, and 2 for the paper.  Honestly, your team can cover for you.  You hypothetically don’t have to even do anything or show up.  A forewarning there are decisions that take place during the week.  But on the flip side, unless your team is incapable of making a decision, you won’t stay until 8pm on the two Fridays and Saturdays.  Most teams finished in the early afternoon during the simulation.  There is no need to make regressions and models for every possible situation.  Save the time.

Winner:  613.  Seriously, this is a very stress free way to earn 0.5 credits.  There is a lot of flexibility.

 

Fun

612:  Pretty…pretty…pretty good

A great topic with punchy story lines and advertising campaigns. The solid instruction and enjoyable cases combined with lessons from history make this class enjoyable.

613:  A combination of  “12 Angry Men,” “Money Ball,” and Hop Sing Laundromat

A function of team dynamics, but this was a really good time.   This is probably one of the most enjoyable group projects at Wharton.  This simulation was substantially better than the Management 610 simulation.

Winner:  613

 

Palmer Scholar pursuers

612:  You mostly control your own destiny

Be forewarned, there is always a significant element of subjectivity with marketing.

613:  Too much variability

Even if you picked your dream academic team, there is too much randomness involved in the simulation.  Your results depend directly on the decisions made by the groups competing against you. As a team you are graded against your relative performance of the three other teams who started in the same exact situation as yours.  If you were to replay this simulation again, there is no predictive power in your simulation results.  Whoever was last can easily be first next version.  So don’t approach the simulation with the goal of trying to get a certain grade.  If you do, you will annoy your teammates, and your anxiety will radiate, diminishing the fun factor.  And if you do make poor decisions in the simulation, don’t worry, that is the point!  You will be learning.

Winner:  612, but you really shouldn’t care.  GND, remember?  Really why do MBA programs even have grades?  I rather learn something I can apply in the business world and receive a ‘”C”, then not learn anything and yet receive an “A.”

 

Usefulness 

612:  Yea, I think so

Learning about the spectacular failures will humble and color future marketing decisions.  The tit for tat game theory learned from the mature cereal markets will help if presented with a situation on whether or not it is worth it for going after more market share.

613: Yea, I think so

You will learn which segments to go after, which segments to let go, and how much branding and advertising can influence consumers before you actually have to release a product with better market fit.  If SABRE added some finance capability like M&A, the simulation would be wild.

Winner:  Draw

 

More likely to remember 10 years from now

612:  40% of 30%

Segmentation, conjoint analysis, high penetration, skimming strategy,  “S” curve, “C” curve, unrealistic market share rates, trial size, prospect theory, growth, mature, declining markets are ideas that will ring in the future.  The Amazon fire, the Visa AMEX ad campaign, the superior shower head, and the Japanese toilet.

613:  Overconfidence and underestimating competitor behavior

You won’t remember the name SABRE but if you are ever presented with a marketing decision in the business world you will be able to relate to a really bad or a really smart decision you made.

Winner:  613, even more so if you came in first or last in the simulation

 

Overall:

Take 613.   Kudos to the marketing department.  Job well done with the core courses.  The simulation is a great experience.  Though if you have the time, I would take 612 with Bradlow in addition.   For 613, if you are on a lousy team it can really sour your experience, but fortunately most teams appeared functional.  I was lucky enough to be on a team that valued learning (which is different than trying to get an “A”) and having a good time.  We ate, we drank, we game theoried, we made some smart simulation moves, we made some dumb simulation moves, and we laughed.


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