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The mobile specialist and University donor has tasked students with developing new digital marketing and customer service ideas, as part of their ongoing commitment to the Business School.

MSc Marketing and Marketing & Business Analysis students were challenged to create new ideas to merge customers’ online and offline shopping experiences, to improve Dixons Carphone’s omni-channel retail experience.

Innovative solutions

During the semester, fourteen groups on the Marketing Applications course grappled with the challenge, using their digital analytics and research skills to develop detailed personas and mapping customer journeys to come up with creative and innovative solutions.

After pitching to a panel of representatives from Dixons Carphone and Connexity, MSc students Nikolay Sabev, Kaja Lerfaldet and Shiran Luo were crowned winners for their digital shop assistant concept. Bridging the gap between Dixon Carphone’s high street retail brand, Currys PC World’s offline experience and online live chat function, the panel commended the project as an exceptional example of innovative thinking.

Group Strategist, Nikolay Sabev, said: “It’s been a brilliant experience from start to end. The information and insight that the experts from Dixons Carphone and Hitwise have shared with us has given us a chance to look at some of the challenges that await after graduation. Being part of the winning team feels great and we’re all looking forward to applying the lessons we’ve learnt to more real-life scenarios in the future.”

Scholarships

The challenge is the latest activity in the School’s educational tie-up with the retail and service company, which aims to develop teaching and research resources in data science at the Business School.

Launched in 2015, the collaboration has already invested close to £500,000 in various initiatives – including a generous Dixons Carphone scholarship, which is offered to promising applicants on the School’s MSc and MBA programmes.

One of the recipients of the scholarship is Maria Jover, who studies Marketing and Business Analysis. She said:

“I am so thankful to have received this scholarship. Receiving this help has allowed me to be a bit more relaxed in terms of managing my day-to-day expenses and to enjoy even more my time studying here. Being a postgraduate at the University of Edinburgh is an incredible opportunity and it is worth making the most of every minute of it without having to constantly worry about your personal finances.”

Lectureship

Dixons Carphone has also funded the Dixons Carphone Lecturer in Business Analytics. The current holder of the post is Dr Johannes Smedt. He says:

“It is important that modern curricula is linked with practice and Dixons Carphone provides the perfect backdrop for the students of the Business School. The complementarity of an academic education and a company-driven project has shown to yield a very interesting outcome during the MSc projects on marketing analytics. It spiked motivation, and challenged students to add a creative component to the theory they were provided with in class. This sets a fantastic precedent for the future collaboration, and an excellent base from which to build.”

Unique opportunity

Professor Wendy Loretto, Dean of the University of Edinburgh Business School, believes that the support from Dixons Carphone is hugely important to the School and its students. She says:

“We value our ongoing collaboration with Dixons Carphone, which shows our commitment as a Business School to develop graduate knowledge and skills in data science and marketing analytics. The partnership is a really unique opportunity for the University and we are very thankful to them for their support and investment in funding the Dixons Carphone Lectureship and scholarships, and in working with faculty and students on innovative projects.”

And Chris Ward, eCommerce Insight Manager at Dixons Carphone, agrees:

“Working with students at the Business School is a hugely rewarding and vitally important activity. We believe we have a duty to help encourage a new generation of data-savvy, business graduates who will help drive our company and the industry forward. Offering students an insight into real-world applied data-analytics will stand them in good stead when it comes to leaving the world of academia and entering the workplace.”

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