Former MSc Business Analytics student Katarina Cardasova undertook an In Company scheme with local luxury food hall business Macknade, as part of her final dissertation project. Here, CEO Stefano Cuomo and Katarina herself reflect on the positive experience of working together…
Stefano says: “Macknade has had a longstanding relationship with Kent Business School, sharing expertise and collaborating on projects. External Engagement Manager Rebecca Smith introduced us to Katarina, who was working from her home in Slovakia, due to the pandemic. It was clear she was diligent and hardworking, with a good mind for analytics and data.
“After sitting down with her supervisor, we worked out an area for the project – our loyalty card scheme. Macknade had collected reams of data but had no time to properly analyse it all. Katarina’s skillset married up perfectly.
“Katarina was enthusiastic and nothing was too much for her, her work ethic was impressive. After a few weeks of cleaning the data and organising it, clear trends began to emerge – some we knew about, others were a complete surprise to us. They allowed us to change the way we marketed some of our businesses and a clearer understanding of what our customers want from Macknade.
“I don’t see any down sides to offering up an in-company scheme to a student. Katarina made vital, measurable improvements to our business – for the simple cost of our time. These young businesspeople have the energy and drive, they want to achieve, and they have expertise that is current, innovative and relevant. The University want the best output from their students, too, so they will ensure the placements work.
“We’re now looking at working with students like this more regularly. Many students already run their own businesses or have connections which can benefit existing SMEs, they bring so much to the table and to know we are giving them work experience is extremely gratifying.”
“Being able to apply my learnings to a real business was incredible”
Katarina says: “As one of the best performing students in my year, I became eligible to work with a real business for my dissertation, in the final stages of my degree. Macknade were so hands-on and excited about what I had to offer. When I read up about the business, I liked what I saw and was passionate to help an SME in Kent, as I missed studying in Canterbury and wanted to give back to the local area.
“Being tasked with looking at the data from their loyalty card schemes, I immediately applied the things I’d learned on my course, such as data processing, statistics and many of the software packages I had mastered in my MSc. I divided customers based on things like demographics, how much they spent and how often they shop. I built three models they could use, using different principles and offering different solutions. Mackande were quite surprised by some of the trends I uncovered – such as the difference between how female and males shop.
“I was able to use the data presenting skills I’d learnt on my course to present the findings to the team. I was so grateful for the kindness of Macknade and the opportunities they gave me that I spent a few weeks preparing an additional report, with more detail, as a goodwill gesture.
“I graduated this year and now work for the Slovakian Ministry of Finance in Data Analytics. I hope, in the near future, to move back to the UK. Being given the opportunity to apply my learnings to a real business was incredible, I believe my time with Macknade has greatly improved my future prospects and abilities.”
For more information on Macknade or to order online visit Macknade Shop – Macknade Fine Foods.
In-Company schemes offers the opportunity to bring new expertise into existing organisations through a short-term project, delivered by one of our high-calibre MSc students specially selected to meet the needs of the enterprise in question.