Innovating the future: AI’s transformative role in business

The dawn of 2024 marks an exciting chapter for businesses as they seek to leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) to revolutionise customer experiences, operational efficiency, and market strategies.

MBA students at Whitstable Maritime

This year’s Consultancy Week with Professor Des Doran enabled the MBA students to showcase the role that AI is likely to play in re-shaping the travel, retail, and non-profit landscapes. Working in groups, they were presented with real-life challenges to research and solve by three Kent-based companies, Holiday Extras, Macknade, and Whitstable Maritime.

For Holiday Extras, the focus was twofold: enhancing customer engagement through personalised travel content and streamlining operational processes to boost marketing efforts. The goal? To create unforgettable, tailor-made travel experiences powered by AI-driven insights. Some of the proposed solutions included utilising AI generated images and audio prompts for personalised customer interactions, incorporating user-generated content for authentic travel experiences, and implementing an AI powered travel diary and ‘Holiday Wrapped’ feature for customers.

All ideas were positively received, with Ant Clarke-Cowell, Brand Director at Holiday Extras (pictured below), saying, “This week has been huge fun as well as an incredibly thought-provoking experience. The speed at which the students understood our business and researched how we can leverage AI even further to achieve our business goals was mind blowing!”

MBA students with Holiday Extras

Macknade’s strategy focused on identifying growth opportunities and leveraging AI for both operational and customer experience improvements. Suggestions put forward included embedding generative AI into the website to create a more personalised customer experience, utilising AI for meal prep ideas allowing for the creation of bundled sales, and using AI tools for future site analysis and event planning. One of the teams also gave a live demonstration of how AI can be used effectively to create social media messages that align perfectly with the brand.

Stefano Cuomo, Sixth Generation Lead at Macknade (pictured below), who has worked with Kent MBA students in the past, was impressed writing on social media, “Thank you so much for all the teams achieved for Macknade, it was a joy working with you and we have lots of input to put into practice. Watch this space!”

MBA students with Stefano Cuomo of Macknade Faversham

Whitstable Maritime was keen to embrace AI to elevate social media strategies and operational efficiencies, whilst fostering community engagement and ensuring regulatory compliance. This innovative use of technology aims to strengthen community ties and enhance organisational impact. Suggestions included implementing a volunteer management AI system for staff rotas, streamlining donation processing and integrating donor data into a CRM, using AI for interactive quizzes, content analysis, and platform tracking, and AI driven strategies for global audience engagement.

Susannah Gooch, Chair of Whitstable Maritime (pictured top), also found the whole experience incredibly rewarding, explaining, “It was very insightful working with this MBA cohort at the University of Kent. The students quickly got under the skin of the priorities of Whitstable Maritime, understanding our focus. Within a very short time they have developed an overarching strategy, utilising AI tools which we can effectively leverage.”

All these initiatives underscore a collective move towards smarter, more personalised business practices, heralding a future where AI not only drives growth but also enriches customer and community experiences.

The Consultancy Challenge is one of four MBA Challenges that make the MBA at Kent Business School so relevant in the current global world. It takes the learning to another level and allows the students to make even more important contacts for their future growth.

For more information on our MBA, why not attend an online MBA briefing. It’s a great way to find out what happens throughout the course and speak to current students about their experiences.

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