January 13, 2017

Student Perspectives: Wunderman Agency Challenge at Baruch

By Rahul Gupte, MBA ‘18 


Julius Caesar once said that “Experience is the teacher of all things.” Throughout my formal education and career, I tried very hard to ‘learn’ and ‘study’ marketing and advertising. However, after taking part in what was one of the most wonderful, insightful, thought provoking and self-realizing experiences that I have ever had during the Wunderman Agency Challenge at Baruch College this fall, I realized that just learning and studying marketing and advertising is not enough.

Through the Challenge, Baruch students had an opportunity to build a team to compete in a unique case competition by working on a creative brief presented by the agency. The Wunderman brief was simple: re-imagine the digital experience of one of the agency’s clients in an effort to increase direct consumer acquisitions through the organization.

Our approach was a systematic one: identify target consumer personas through data collection and analysis, map out current customer journeys and uncover possible pain points through each step of the buying process, formulating a marketing strategy and having the relevant measurement metrics in place. We were very focused on producing a quality piece of work, but what we knew little of was just how much we were going to learn through the entire journey.

A Real Project for a Real-World Client
First, and what I believe was most important, was that the Wunderman Agency Challenge was not a textbook case-study that was theoretical in nature. This was a real project for a real-world client, and hence we were able to get first-hand experience in dealing with agency expectations, client goals and the nature of projects in a major advertising agency.

Second, not only were we experiencing the ad world, we were working in it. Kevin Katz, Director, Marketing and Business Development and Account Director at Wunderman, was our assigned mentor who worked with us throughout our conceptualization and execution stages. Kevin was a critical sounding board who brought seasoned experience, having worked on numerous campaigns and a variety of clients. He helped us approach not just the assignment in the Challenge, but really every role and assignment we take on hereafter with a point-of-view that is unique and relevant.

Members of the Wunderman New York leaders holding on-site meetings with student teams to flush out their competition ideas and presentations.

Lessons and Take-Aways
As an MBA student, the biggest take-away for me from the Challenge was developing a new perspective and self-awareness. I learned about the strengths and weaknesses I have which now help me better position myself in a team environment. I also learned the value of having diversity within a team, not just in terms of cultural backgrounds but also in terms of skills.

Each of my team members contributed in their own unique way and the whole was larger than the sum of all parts. Experience really is the teacher of all things. The Wunderman Ad Agency Challenge was a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me and my peers, and I am thankful to the Wunderman team and Baruch College for making this initiative possible.


Rahul Gupte is a current MBA student graduating in 2018. His team was one of nine Baruch student teams that competed in the Wunderman Agency Challenge at Baruch College from October 5 to November 2, 2016. Rahul’s team was the winning graduate student team in the competition.