On our second day in Budapest, we made our way to an island in the Danube River called Óbudai-sziget (“Old Buda Island”), for our first meeting with Sziget, our client for the Venture Consulting in Budapest program which is offered every year here at Olin.
Guest Blogger, Ty Holden, MBA’16, is a student in Cliff Holekamp’s Venture Consulting course that works with companies in Budapest, Hungary.
In addition to the incredible opportunity to see and explore Budapest and to gain experience in international business, we were assigned a very exciting project: to develop a strategic plan for attracting more Americans to Sziget Festival, a week-long music and entertainment festival that takes place on Óbudai-sziget every August.
Sziget attracts over 400,000 attendees a year, but essentially all are from Europe. In fact, only an estimated 200 Americans purchased tickets for last year’s festival. The task that we were given was to develop a plan for raising awareness of Sziget in the United States with a stated goal of increasing American attendance to 3,000 by 2018 (a 1500% increase). Sziget wants to diversify the origin of their attendees to protect against isolated economic difficulties and to drive 7-day ticket sales versus single day tickets.
We then had the opportunity to interview the executives of Sziget to explore its current structure, market, and strategies. With the objective and information about the festival in mind, we set out to develop a structure for addressing the problem and eventually for providing a strategic plan. In order to attack this problem, we developed a structure for understanding it called a MECE (“mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive”) tree. It is a process used at McKinsey and taught to us by Professor Orbán in Budapest.
The structure allows you see the problem in its entirety and to test hypotheses that solve it. Our analysis indicated that Sziget’s problem was an awareness issue, and in order to attract more Americans on a tight marketing budget, the probable solution is to employ a very targeted marketing campaign. This raises another challenge, however, in that we must now determine the typical American customer who is interested in the offerings of Sziget and also has the time and money to attend. Once the target customer is identified, we will need to develop a plan for reaching these individuals.
Overall, the week was a great success. Our project was given some much needed context and our interview sessions with the Sziget executives proved invaluable. While we were certainly sad to leave Budapest and all that it has to offer, we are excited to return the United States to continue to work on this exciting, unique project.