Top SMG Core Teams Present New Product Plans

in News, Students, Undergraduate Students
May 9th, 2014

School of Management hosts 2014 Core New Product Challenge

For nine students at Boston University School of Management, the dog really did eat their homework. On April 7, members of team Lock-A-Bowls were crowned champions at the 16th Core New Product Challenge, the culmination of SM323 (known as “The Core”), for their presentation of a new dog-feeding accessory.


Winning smiles: Stephanie Scime (from left), faculty judge Greg Collier, Meline Matevosian, Devon Carelli, Brian Tate, Cristian Rocco Donohue, and Imagitas judge Chris Hall.

The SM323 set of courses is one of the key elements differentiating SMG’s undergraduate curriculum. The four functional courses—marketing, operations, information systems, and finance—are integrated into a one-semester sequence through a common semester-long project focused on new product development.

“The Core project is the cornerstone of the SM323 course and has been designed to allow student teams to develop an integrated plan for a new product launch,” said Jonathan Hibbard, assistant professor of marketing and faculty coordinator for the Cross-Functional Core. “In the process, the students appreciate the interrelationships among decisions they make across the four courses.”

The Core project simulates a real-world environment and allows students to work in teams, requiring each to design a product by assessing customer needs and markets, develop marketing plans to sell their product, develop operations processes and information systems to support their product, and understand the risks involved in implementing and financing.

“I found Core to be an incredibly valuable learning experience,” said Devon Carelli (SMG’14), a member of the Lock-A-Bowls team. “It was great to have the opportunity to present in front of such a large audience of students, faculty, and real corporate managers.”

Imagitas, a Pitney Bowes company dedicated to innovative lifestage marketing services, sponsored this year’s Core Challenge. Each year, the Core faculty nominates projects from about 80 plans for review by the sponsor, who then selects three finalists based on how well each team’s plan displayed the analysis of their research during the semester, not on the product idea itself.

The three finalist teams—Lock-A-Bowls, Magic Toothbrush, and the KibblerNibbler—then presented to the judges and answered follow-up questions. Noting their strong presentation and Q&A session, the judges awarded first place to Lock-A-Bowls, who received gift cards, framed certificates, and their team’s product name on the Challenge trophy.

“Our team is very proud and honored to be the winner of the Core New Product Challenge,” said Cristian Rocco Donohue (SMG’14). “We’re thankful to Imagitas for nominating our team and to our professors for helping us create a great product and business plan.”

Lock-A-Bowls is a dog-feeding accessory consisting of two stainless steel dog bowls that twist and lock into a slip-proof, rubber dog mat. The purpose of Lock-A-Bowls is to prevent the mess surrounding dog’s food bowls, reducing clean-up time by minimizing messy floors. The twist and lock mechanism is easy to use and all components of the product are dishwasher-safe and made of BPA free materials, making it 100 percent dog-safe as well as consumer-friendly.

“The Lock-A-Bowls team was able to demonstrate to the judges the comprehensive nature of their decisions across the functional areas during their presentation and Q&A session,” Hibbard said.

The Lock-A-Bowls team included Carelli, Melanie Champlin, Cristian Rocco Donohue, Meline Matevosian, Stephanie Scime, Brian Tate, Alicia Kosasih, Hang Cen, and Jenny Perales, who were advised by faculty members Ted Chadwick, Jonathan Hibbard, Yoo-Taek Lee, and Jeff Allen.