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UST MBA Students Study Marketing in Morocco

A group of 18 University of St. Thomas MBA students traveled to Morocco for two weeks during summer 2011. The study abroad was led by Dr. Shahram Taj and his graduate assistant, Souheil Badaa, who organized an eventful program. Highlights of the trip include a tour of Casablanca, Marrakech, and Tangier as well as a rare opportunity to participate in a live case study and presentation with a Moroccan company.

Students on the trip were Carmen Gonzalez, Roberto Gonzalez, Felix Wang, Jay Ignacio, Natalie Morton Hernandez, Rodney Galatas, Souheil Badaa, Anya Marmuscak, Edna Bian, Fernanda Gandara, Melissa Kidonakis, Patricia Tello, Sarena Garcia-DeLeone, Victoria Fajardo, Caren Guidry, Emily Jackson, HD Cronje, Nadine Clerge-Lamour and  Victoria Lentz.

The group began their journey in the bustling city of Casablanca, where they toured the Hassan II Mosque, the largest mosque in the country. While in Marrakesh, the group rode camels and enjoyed entertainment of a snake charmer. In Tangier, the students visited the Tangier Med Port, the biggest port in Africa and Mediterranean with manufacturing and business hubs in free trade zone.

“I not only learned about Morocco and its current economic position, but I also was exposed to the future plans for the country, which was an absolutely incredible experience,” said MBA student Victoria Lentz.

While the group spent plenty of time enjoying the cultural sights of Morocco, the majority of the time was spent in Casablanca working closely with the Novatis Group on the live case study. The Novatis Group is a Moroccan company, founded in 2003, currently produces diapers and tissue products. Each student spent time learning about the company, touring the production facilities and visiting the various local markets where the Novatis Group products were sold.

Divided into small groups, the students worked to collect as much information about the consumer market in an effort to create a strategic growth and marketing plan that would be presented to the company representatives. Taj said the Novatis Group was exceedingly pleased with the quality and the effort that went into each group presentation.

“Mr. Soufiane Badaa, Chief Operating Officer of Novatis Group, and other executives were really impressed with the presentations and they couldn't believe that the students learned so much in such a short period of time and still delivered creative and impressive presentations,” Taj said.

MBA student Sarena Garcia-DeLeone said she is excited that some of her group’s recommendations are being implemented by the Moroccan company.

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