AGSM students consult to the Wine Society

Tuesday, 28 May 2013  Features

A team of AGSM MBA students have been invited to conduct two in-depth consulting reviews of critical areas for The Wine Society.

The Wine Society was founded in 1946 as a not-for-profit cooperative with the objective of providing quality, Australian table wines to its members and at the same time ensuring value-for-money and the promotion of the Australian wine industry.

In 2012, John Love (MBA '83), Chairman of the Society retained Alan Ward (MBA '83) of Changedrivers pty ltd to work with the Society to conduct a strategic rejuvenation of the business.

Following discussions with the AGSM, Alan invited a team of MBA students into the organisation to conduct consulting work.

One student team turned their attention to the Society's member acquisition and retention strategy and the second were invited to critically review the Society's web presence with respect to competitors' capabilities and to make recommendations for change.

The teams' first challenge was to demonstrate their understanding of the marketplace by making a presentation to the CEO and management team on the research based knowledge they had gained. Having cleared this hurdle, they then turned their attention to the two specific pieces of work that Alan had defined.

During the period of review, the teams were given access to members of the management team, in particular Peter Fitzgerald, the Society's Marketing Manager and Alan Ward.

The team conducted a series of focus groups and telephone interviews with current and prospective members, as well as those who had resigned from the Society, in order to collect information and test their hypotheses ahead of making their final presentations.

The teams' deliverable was a final presentation that was made to the Board and Management team of The Wine Society.

In accepting the final report from the teams, John Love reflected on the fact that he and Alan Ward had conducted a similar review for a major transport organisation in the last year of their degree and that it had been during that process that the strong bonds were formed between them.

Participating AGSM student Puneet Kashyap said, "The project was an excellent opportunity for us to capstone our MBA learning's by gaining practical experience and contribute in a real life business problem," he said.

"The most memorable moment for me was the excellent feedback we received from the firm's senior leadership after our final set of recommendations to them."