Creative Data Lab: A look back at our day with Manchester Metropolitan University

Last month, we headed virtually to Manchester to run a Creative Data Lab in collaboration with MMU.

At the Lab, 20 aspiring data-driven marketers got a taste of a working day in the data and marketing industry, as we challenged them to crack a well-known brand’s business problem, using data to guide their response. Rugby League World Cup (RLWC) provided a brief that asked the students to respond to one of three business challenges they are currently facing, with the focus on customer engagement, including how to increase interest in the women’s rugby tournament.

The Lab was open to all MMU students, with the only requirement being that they have an interest in the power of data and problem-solving. This led to a great mix of study years and degrees, from Computer Science and Maths to Psychology and Criminology.

We were joined by Carolyn Bondi, Co-Founder and Data Strategy Partner at The Thread Team, who kicked the day off with an inspirational insight into the powerful world of data, and how, harnessed correctly, it’s crucial to a successful marketing campaign.

Carolyn was on hand throughout the Lab to offer advice and guidance to the students and, after a few hours of brainstorming and refining their ideas in their teams, each pitched their responses to a judging panel compromising of RLWC’s senior marketing team members, Terri Lynam and Rob Hutchison, Carolyn Bondi, and Alec Dobbie, CEO & Co-Founder at marketing agency, FanFinders. They had a tough job selecting a winner as all five teams pitched professionally, offering a wealth of fresh and innovative ideas. But one team - The Data Core-Laboraters – took home the crown, with all participants receiving invaluable feedback on their work.

Terri Lynam, Customer Director, Rugby League World Cup 2021 told us:

“RLWC2021 partners with Manchester Met, and so when the DMA proposition got presented to us to work with their students, it was an opportunity we saw as a no brainer. We had data just come in and some interesting challenges we were contemplating internally so being able to brief those questions to the students and hear their insights and feedback was a chance not to be missed.

The students who took part were from varying study areas including maths and engineering so not your typical marketing students, which I think gave a unique and differing perspective to the challenges we put to the different groups. I would highly recommend other brands taking part in this process, it is brilliant way to support our next generation of thinkers and get a different perspective from an intelligent group of people who have nothing to lose by telling you their truth.”

The main aim of our Creative Data Labs is to inspire students to choose a career in the data and marketing industry, and we caught up with two of the students who took part to find out what they thought of the experience.

Thomas Sclater, 2nd year Advertising and Brand Management student

"The Creative Data Lab gave me a fantastic opportunity to work with a real and engaging brand. It was great to be able to interact with them, gaining valuable feedback that I can apply in future projects. The dataset gave a vast and detailed insight into the Rugby League World Cup, and it allowed for some really creative ideas and solutions to be developed. If you want to enrich your data knowledge and apply your creativity, you should take part in a Creative Data Lab."

Nora Hashad, 3rd year Tourism Management student

“It was an amazing experience. I was working with data from a real-life brand, collaborating with amazing students from different faculties to me, and had the opportunity to present in front of a panel and get feedback from them! The lab is great for anyone looking to broaden their skills for the future, or looking to change career paths towards working with data.”


If you’re interested in attending one of our Labs, complete our application form by clicking here and if you’re successful, we’ll let you know when the next Lab will be taking place.

If you're looking to recruit talent or raise your profile amongst aspiring marketers, our Creative Data programme provides the perfect platform. Get in touch with Jessica here to find out more.

Want to find out more about all the events and programmes DMA Talent run? Click here to go to the home of DMA Talent for all the latest news and information about all of DMA Talent's programmes.

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