Recent trends in education, and business education in particular, emphasize the importance of “learning by doing”. As Benjamin Franklin famously wrote:

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

Leading business schools abroad increasingly include real-life company projects into their academic curriculum to enrich the experience of their Master-level students and thus prepare them for a successful career in the challenging and dynamic business environment of today. Partnerships between corporations and business schools are of multipurpose nature and are highly beneficial to both sides.

CIIM Business School has been committed to the excellence in postgraduate business education for more than 25 years. As a non-for-profit management school, CIIM has built many successful corporate partnership relationships – which are now used to the mutual benefit of the partners. One recent example of such a collaboration is a joint Live Case Project between CIIM – Cyprus International Institute of Management Master of Science in Management programme and Zorbas Group, a leading company in Cyprus.

A. Zorbas and Sons Ltd was founded as a small bakery in Athienou in 1975 by Mr. Andreas Zorbas. In 1979 it was established as a Limited Company with main activity the production and sales of bakery products. With 40+ years of successful operations and a continuous fast growth in the Cyprus market, the small bakery in Athienou has transformed into a big Group of Companies. Today Zorbas is still based on the same human approach and values as at the beginning. The company today has 58 stores all over Cyprus (29 in Nicosia, 12 in Limasol, 9 in Larnaca, 3 in Famagusta and 5 in Paphos), one recently opened store in New York (USA) under the name French Workshop, and three production units in Aradippou and Nisou Industrial Area, equipped with the latest of technology. The human resource of Zorbas Group of Companies, which has been a decisive factor for its growth, today amounts to more than 1300 individuals, and they continue to hire. Social responsibility is one of the most important company values. In May 2010, the MAZI Foundation for eating disorders and obesity has begun its operations.

CIIM – Cyprus International Institute of Management MSc Management is a practically oriented postgraduate business degree designed to develop university graduates into professional managers. In the hyper-competitive job market of today a postgraduate degree in management has become a required qualification for employment in jobs that university graduates would find appealing and rewarding. Fields that were in high demand a few years ago are now saturated and many graduates are unable to secure the job they have targeted with their first degree. They are seeking to discover new opportunities in the private and public sector to secure gainful employment with good career prospects. CIIM – Cyprus International Institute of Management MSc Management follows the “learning by doing” philosophy by organising career development seminars, company visits, real-life company projects and optional internships.

“The Masters in Management degree, once the best-kept secret of European business schools, is becoming the star of 21st-century business education.”
Della Bradshaw, FT Business Education, 2015

In spring 2017, 15 CIIM – Cyprus International Institute of Management MSc Management students participated in a Live Case Project run by the Marketing department of Zorbas. It was a challenging practical experience to test the knowledge and skills gained during the MSc studies at CIIM – Cyprus International Institute of Management. 15 master students worked in five teams over the period of four months on five different marketing projects introduced to the students by the company’s management. The team’s tasks included substantial market research and marketing strategy development.

Team 1: “Recommendations for Digital Marketing Strategy for Zorbas” – Marilena Christodoulides, Eleni Teratsia, Ioanna Panayiotou
Team 2: “Recommendations for Digital Marketing Strategy for Coffee Berry” – Anastasia Natsika, Diana Tryfonos, Ilias Feizidis
Team 3: “Customer Focus & Recommendations for Coffee Berry” – Georgia Isaak, Constantinos Georgiades, Andreas Papandreou
Team 4: “Bread Festival as part of the SCR” – Rebecca Solomontos, Penny Chrysanthou, Vasiliki Petrou
Team 5: “Ideal Mobile Application for Zorbas” – Apostolos Manoli, Eva Epaminonda, Maria Kalli

The final presentations took place on June 16th at the Head Office of Zorbas in Nicosia. The Case Project has turned out as highly beneficial for both sides. The company issued recommendation letters to express appreciation of the active participation by all five teams, and each participant individually.

We are proud to announce the names of the CIIM – Cyprus International Institute of Management MSc Management students of the winning team (Team 2): Ilias Feizidis, Anastasia Natsika and Diana Tryfonos. The winning team’s topic (2) was about the new coffee shop concept that Zorbas is introducing this summer – Coffee Berry. The team suggested specific ways how the company should promote its new venture via digital marketing.

CIIM – Cyprus International Institute of Management would like to use the opportunity of this publication to express sincere appreciation of the Zorbas’ active collaboration to support the business education process, which took many different forms, including the recent Case Project with the Marketing department, as well as the company visits which have been organized for the CIIM – Cyprus International Institute of Management MSc Management students by the company’s HR department on a regular basis in the last six years.  Special thanks go to the Group HR Manager Mr Emilios Rotsides for his invaluable contribution to all these projects.

About the Author 
Dr Olga Kandinskaia
Programme Director of MSc Business Management (previously MSc Management)
CIIM – Cyprus International Institute of Management
[email protected]