General information on the unit
Contact hours: 74 (tutorial with group tutors)
Personal work hours: 301
Venue: Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza
The project is developed throughout the first academic year of the Master. The scheduling for the activities is the following:
- Group allocation: beginning of October
- Project supervision with the group tutors:
October-December, meeting with tutors 3 times per month, 2 hours per meeting
January-April, meeting with tutors 4 times per month, 2 hours per meeting
May, meeting with tutors 3 times per week, 2 hours per meeting
- Presentations of partial results: mid-December and mid-March
- Presentation of the final document: end-May
- Assessment of the Unit: last 2 days of the first part of the Master
Requisites and permanence
There are no previous requisites
The learning process is based on group work in which students are advised by a tutor in the definition of the work plan and in the choice and implementation of tools and methods, and receive tutor’s support to make contacts with sources of information and experts, as well as in the preparation of the presentations for the different stages of the project.
Students write the document in Spanish or English. The oral presentations (partial and final) and defence may be delivered in any of the three languages: Spanish, English or French.
Presentation of the Unit and context within the syllabus
Throughout the first part of the Master Students prepare, through team work, a market research project in one of the firms collaborating with the programme. The project is to study the possible solutions to the marketing problems set forth by these firms, in order to apply the teaching and techniques presented in the lectures to a defined market situation.
- SC4 Using current information and communication systems to improve marketing strategies.
- SC6 Integrating food safety, labelling and product quality in marketing plans, considering the regulations established by agro-food policies at international and national levels.
- SC7 Mastering the concepts, components and phases of marketing and its specific application to agro-food products.
- SC8 Analysing consumer behaviour and carrying out market research studies selecting the most appropriate methodologies according to the specific objectives of research.
- SC9 Establishing relevant product policies and pricing strategies, planning and developing advertising campaigns, and determining good distribution schemes to obtain competitive advantages.
- SC10 Understanding the key factors for success in innovation management, and gaining experience in the practice of idea generation and new product development.
- SC11 Evaluating marketing programmes and being able to provide guidance to improve their outputs and efficiency.
- SC12 Planning marketing strategies and projects that may be useful to agro-food companies to increase competitiveness and business development in domestic and international markets.
- GC1 Integrating scientific and technical knowledge and applying them discerningly.
- GC2 Performing scientific and/or technical information searches and processing them selectively.
- GC3 Analyzing results or strategies and elaborating conclusions which contribute to clarify the problems and to find possible solutions.
- GC4 Making decisions and generating new ideas and knowledge in complex systems.
- GC5 Learning and working autonomously, responding to unforeseen situations and re-aiming a strategy if necessary.
- GC6 Team-working and promoting exchange and collaboration attitudes with other students, researchers and professionals.
- GC7 Communicating reasoning and conclusions both to a general audience and to a specialized public.
- GC8 Writing presentations and synthesis, preparing and presenting oral communications, and defending them in public.
The student, at the end of the learning of this Unit:
- Is familiar with the main current business problems in agro-food marketing.
- Has skills in searching, selecting and treating technical and scientific information.
- Applies the methodology presented in the courses in the different steps of the project.
- Has experience in the analysis of planning situations and in decision making.
- Plans marketing strategies that may be useful to agro-food companies.
- Is able to work in a group and collaborate with the business sector.
- Possesses skills in the preparation of documents of synthesis.
- Has gained experience in the delivery and defence of oral communications.
The aim of this Unit is to provide the students with practical experience on how to approach real marketing problems faced by agro-food companies and to develop marketing strategies and plans to give solutions to those problems, applying the knowledge acquired throughout the different units of the first part of the Master. The project is carried out in working groups. The general objective is different for each project and the work comprises the following parts:
General framework of the sector and the company
Consists of: (i) making a brief description of the situation and problems of the sector concerned, followed by an analysis centred on the aspects that mostly affect the questions that lie within the general objective; and (ii) contextualizing the company in this sector, making a characterization focused on the problems to be dealt with and the general objective of the project.
Consist of the establishment of the specific objectives of the project that lead to the proposal of possible solutions considering the characterization already made of the company.
Methodology: Presentation and justification of the methodology, data collection, data processing
Consists of: (i) making a brief presentation of the methodology used in the project for data collecting and processing, and a justification of this choice according to its suitability to accomplish the specific objectives of the project and its advantages compared to other alternative methodologies; (ii) choosing information sources and gathering the information needed to identify and characterize the problems (if a survey is made, the choice of questions must be justified as well as the sample size and features); and (iii) processing information to obtain data that may be analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively.
Analysis and discussion of results
Consists of the analysis of results, and the interpretation of their validity and the importance of variation factors.
Conclusions and applications
Consists of defining the conclusions derived from the analysis of results, contrasting them with the specific objectives settled. Based on these conclusions, a business strategy is proposed to solve the problem analyzed.
Considering that each project must fit its general objective and the specific objectives settled, other alternative approaches may be followed. In this case the group must discuss the alternative with the project tutor and the scientific director.
Learning activity 1: Work in groups, delivered in a written document developing the following contents: (i) introduction; (ii) general objective; (iii) general framework of the sector and the company; (iv) specific objectives; (v) methodology (presentation and justification of the chosen methodology, data sampling, data processing); (vi) analysis and discussion of results; and (vii) conclusions and applications. During the whole learning activity, students receive advice from the tutors.
Percentage of contact: 20% contact with tutors
Learning activity 2: Presentation and oral defence (including preparation of the final and partial presentations)
Percentage of contact: 20% contact with the tutors
Assessment system 1: Assessment made by the project tutors and the technical coordinator of the Master on the participation of each student in the collective work of the group. This assessment is based on the following aspects: (i) student's contribution to the conception, planning and development of the total work of the group; (ii) student's dedication to the collective technical work and to the individual work assigned; and (iii) student's attitude towards the technical work and the group work dynamics.
Weighting: 40% of the final score of the Unit
Assessment system 2: Assessment of the presentations of the partial progress of the project and the individual participation of each member of the group in these presentations. The assessment is made by at least two course lecturers and is based on the overall presentation and the response of each student to the questions posed. This assessment considers the following aspects: (i) progress made in the project; (ii) quality of the work carried out; and (iii) pertinence of the student's answers.
Weighting: 6% of the final score of the Unit (first partial presentation: 3%, second partial presentation: 3%)
Assessment system 3: Assessment of the written document, by a jury composed by one course lecturer and two external experts (usually from universities) assigned considering the characteristics of the projects developed in each edition.
The jury will value the following aspects of the written document: (i) approach of the specific objectives and their degree of difficulty; (ii) suitability of the methodology applied; (iii) analysis of results; (iv) conclusions and applications relative to the proposed objectives; (v) analysis of the sector situation and company characterization; (vi) project coherence; (vii) significance of the information collected and its processing; (viii) writing and presentation of the text; and (ix) originality of the project.
Weighting: 36% of the final score of the Unit
Assessment system 4: Overall assessment of the oral and public presentation and defence of the project in front of the same jury that assesses the written document. Assessment is based on the following aspects: (i) overall clarity of the exposition; (ii) relevance of the answers to the questions posed by each of the members of the jury; (iii) cohesion of the presentations of all members of the group; and (iv) adjustment to the time assigned.
Weighting: 9% of the final score of the Unit
Assessment system 5: Assessment of the presentation and individual defence of each member of the group by the same jury that assesses the written document and the overall presentation and defence. The jury will ask each student the questions it deems appropriate. This individual assessment is based on the following aspects: (i) clarity of the student's particular exposition; (ii) relevance of the student's answers to the questions posed by the jury; (iii) adjustment to the time assigned.
Weighting: 9% of the final score of the Unit
Tutors of the working groups
Luis Miguel ALBISU, CITA-GA, Zaragoza (Spain)
Tiziana DE MAGISTRIS, CITA-GA, Zaragoza (Spain)
María Asunción GONZÁLEZ, Univ. Zaragoza (Spain)
Azucena GRACIA, CITA-GA, Zaragoza (Spain)