Having a project which involves building an online business on your CV as a marketing graduate about to enter the workforce is a powerful thing. At this point, graduates will have completed minimal work experience and having a project of this calibre under their belt can make them stand out from the crowd when applying for entry-level positions and boost their employability.
The final year capstone project offers BA (Honours) in Marketing Practice students at National College of Ireland a unique opportunity. The most recent group of final year students were guided by an expert team of NCI lecturers, David Hurley and Dermot Bradfield, alongside Gary Mullin from Shopify who partnered with the College to help students establish their ecommerce businesses on the platform.
Last year marked the inaugural Marketing Showcase Event and in the College's second year partnering with Shopify, the COVID-19 pandemic meant that a public event could not take place. NCI’s School of Business made the decision to move the event online to give students the opportunity to showcase their impressive work to their classmates, lecturers and other members of the NCI academic community.
So proud of @NCIRL marketing students this morning. The show case had to be cancelled but the show went on Virtually All products were excellently presented great support from @Shopify and thanks to the class and @derbrad for the invite pic.twitter.com/3oU0eKoSSb— Dave Cormack (@cormackd) April 23, 2020
Many of NCI's academic faculty who supported the students as they developed their marketing projects attended the virtual event and shared messages with the class of 2020 which reflect how impressed they were with their transition to presenting their work online.
First up is Marketing Lecturer David Hurley who established the partnership with Shopify last year. The collaboration culminated in NCI's first Final Year Marketing Showcase which gave students the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and present their innovative online businesses to family members and friends who were invited to the fun event.
He shares a message congratulating the resilient group of marketers who rose to the challenge of completing their group projects away from the campus, the classroom and each other:
“The 2020 Capstone Class is one of the best we have had in NCI. This eclectic group managed to build 17 eCommerce businesses - an incredible feat considering the difficult and challenging times we found ourselves in. A thoroughly unforgettable group of wonderful young people.”
David Hurley, NCI School of Business Lecturer
NCI Marketing Lecturer Dermot Bradfield joined David in the classroom this year to encourage students to explore new ways to promote their online businesses. One thing that Dermot introduced into students' toolkit which some of the groups built into their marketing strategies is the latest social media platform; TikTok. This short-form video sharing network has exploded in popularity over the past couple of years and NCI marketing students had the opportunity to build content in this space for their brands, understand how they can reach a wider audience using the network and have fun while doing it.
Dermot acknowledges the dedication of the final year class and their commitment to produce high quality work during challenging times in his message below:
"The 2020 Final Year Marketing class were a special group who demonstrated incredible dedication and agility in times of significant adversity. I will never forget this group and it’s not because of the challenging time you faced this year."
Dermot Bradfield, NCI School of Business Lecturer
As mentioned, Gary Mullin is NCI's key contact in Shopify; a multi-national ecommerce company providing a platform which allows anyone to setup an online store to sell their products. Many businesses of varying sizes in Ireland use the Shopify platform to design their online presence, adapt their store to mobile devices, track transactions in real-time and create an accessible online shopping experience.
Gary came on board last year and has spent a lot of time connecting with marketing students, questioning their strategic decisions, highlighting gaps in their ideas and tactics and making sure any questions about the Shopify platform are answered by an expert.
Unsurprisingly, Gary was highly complementary when he shared his message with students:
"The Capstone Class of 2020 are not just a group of students but also one of the most impressive group of entrepreneurs that I have had the pleasure to work with. Although 2020 ended up a challenging time for this group, they all demonstrated fantastic agility to pivot and build 17 different eCommerce businesses, ready to launch on the Shopify Platform."
Gary Mullin, Shopify Customer Support Team Lead
Finally, NCI School of Business Vice Dean Undergraduate Studies, Dr Danielle McCartan-Quinn attended the virtual marketing showcase to offer her support for students and the academic guidance that was provided. The entrepreneurial spirit and creativeness of students along with their ability to adapt to the challenging situation that came about in their last semester with us was also acknowledged.
“The 2020 final year Marketing students have proved themselves to be fantastically entrepreneurial, creative and adaptable. Pitches presented by group CEOs were followed by Kickstarter videos. The ideas presented covered problem solutions, aspirational social entrepreneurship endeavours and truly innovative designs. They reflect distilled marketing wisdom gleaned from academic tuition and industry engagement received on their undergraduate journey with NCI. I am so profoundly proud of our undergraduates and would like to take this opportunity to congratulate them, again, for the phenomenally high standard of work they have invested in this Final Capstone project.
I would also like to extend my sincere thanks and congratulations to our colleagues, Dave Hurley and Dermot Bradfield who provided high quality academic guidance throughout the process.
Not all dynamic duos wear capes…”
Dr Danielle McCartan-Quinn, NCI School of Business Vice Dean Undergraduate Studies
Many marketers do not gain this entrepreneurial experience until they are deep into their career, if at all. The capstone project has given students the opportunity to build a brand with a central idea and fulfilling a 21st century need. This involved coming up with a name and a tagline, designing a logo, starting a Kickstarter campaign to raise funding, building a social media presence and posting content that resonates with their target audience and opening an on online store to sell their products. That is extremely impressive for a group who are yet to graduate from college!
Explore the 17 group projects developed by our talented group of final year marketing students below:
When words fail, our journal speaks.
Autivity is a learning journal which helps children with autism communicate with day-to-day activities, a daily mood board, weather images, colouring pages and a relaxation page at the end of every day.
Getting back to your roots.
Gairdín is a gardening company with a passion for the simple things in life. Their Beginners Box encourages you to incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine by starting your own gardening journey.
3. Foxburn Flasks
The ultimate flask for the modern gentleman.
Foxburn flasks provide the dual function of carrying your favourite alcohol and a cigar of your choice, embossed with the brand logo with hand sown leather providing a high-quality finish.
Natural solutions to natural problems.
This product has a special connection to NCI as the beeswax, which is blended with shea butter, cocoa butter and essential oils, is sourced from beehives based on the roof of the college.
Built to last.
VAULT is a high-quality men's jewellery brand, producing fashion forward bespoke rings and chains. The group describe the brand as a lifestyle movement which not only creates trends but builds them to last.
6. Coaster & Co.
We’re all about keeping your mug snug.
Their mission is simple; to allow their customers to live the life they deserve without everyday struggles like their coffee getting cold. This heated coaster is a simple solution to a small problem.
7. Lightly Salted Lamps
Relax. Reflect. Recharge.
This next company also focuses on wellness with their portable Himalayan salt lamps which provide numerous health benefits including improving sleep and reducing stress levels.
8. Chien de Mode
The fashionable dog.
Chien de Mode specialises in luxury dog accessories including different coloured dog collars with complementary engraving for owners whose dog is far more to them than just a household pet.
9. LightLux Candles
It just makes scents.
This group employed the marketing concept by understanding the needs of busy customers and creating a range of aromatherapy candles to help people relax, providing light in dark days.
10. 40,075km Journals
Dream it, see it, journal it.
A custom designed travel journal means you can make visit amazing locations around the world and keep your memories all in one place, adding photos and mapping your travel routes.
11. The Tempus Jeweller
Creating wearable moments.
A start-up specialising in custom jewellery for men which is meaningful and personal as a special time or date is engraved meaning each piece of Tempus jewellery is unique.
Form. Function. Style.
The FNCT store stands for finer functionality. Their signature leather cardholder collection for men is not only stylish, the RFID blocker within the smart wallet protects your bank cards wherever you go.
13. Snooze Ltd.
Can’t sleep? Hit snooze!
This group recognised that everyone has trouble sleeping at some point in their life. This lead them to create a range of diffusers and lavender oils which help promote healthy sleeping.
14. Joined at the Zip
Ditch your conventional duvet today!
Joined at the Zip had many groups in mind for their hassle-free duvet including busy college students, hard-working parents and the older generation who may have difficulty changing traditional bed covers.
3 brushes, 1 full face.
The idea for Brushova came about when this group noticed that makeup and makeup brushes can be a bit of a minefield which resulted in them designing a three-piece brush set ideal for busy women.
16. Alphalyte Blend
Blend anytime, anywhere.
The minimalist brand identity this group created for their collapsible blender product is designed to appeal to busy, health conscious adventurers who want a healthy snack to eat on-the-go.
The future...is in your hand.
This company develops cool and innovative phone accessories with the flagship ‘Phoam-Case’ made from memory foam designed to absorb any impact and have a soft cushion feel.
Thinking about studying marketing at undergraduate level? Our BA (Honours) in Marketing Practice will provide a unique, practical experience that will prepare you to join the workforce after you graduate!