On April 4, five teams consisting of Fox School undergraduate students participated in the On Target Case Competition, sponsored by Target and hosted by the Center for Student Professional Development. They were asked to act as consultants in order to address a corporate issue—in this case, the role of gender toys in merchandising—spanning multiple functional areas of Target’s business. The five finalist teams, whittled down earlier from 15 overall team submissions, received a collective total of $3,500 in prizes. The winning team went home with $1,300.
“There were so many innovative ideas and solutions,” said Anita Galiano, a senior field campus recruiting leader at Target and one of the competition judges. “Their professionalism, from their demeanor to how they projected themselves from a research standpoint and really dove into the case study, was impressive. There’s normally a point when teams stumble, like if we throw a wrench in their plans, but the winning team was very committed to their plan and quickly came up with great advice and answers.”
The winning team consisted of students Cong No, Tung Nguyen, Quyen Le, and Thao Nguyen, whose pitch to Target was a plan titled “PlayVenture.” It included the implementation of an indoor play area where kids could test new toys and shoppers could earn rewards, the development of new in-store displays to promote gender-neutral product categorization, and the creation of an internal toy brand.
“The most valuable lesson we learned was that trying our best always led to worthwhile results,” said Thao Nguyen, a member of the winning team. “We did a lot of research about toy trends, especially gender neutrality in the toy industry, and we pushed ourselves to come up with creative ideas. Another valuable lesson we learned was that understanding our teammates was key to the group work. Because the process was very long and we were all busy with studying and other things, we respected each other’s busy schedules and had flexible meetings. Therefore, everyone had the chance to contribute to the team work.”
“What made our team a good team,” Nguyen continued, “was that we really paid attention when our teammates were talking so we could pick out strong and creative points. By doing so, we were all respected within the team, and we created a comfortable and conducive working environment.”