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NC State MBA students learn trendspotting in London

By Christine Ferrell

This post was written by Janelle Tracy, a first-year NC State Jenkins MBA student, as she embarks on a week-long global immersion to London. Leading 12 NC State MBA students on the immersion focused on “Trendspotting for Culture and Design” is Prof. Colbey Reid, director of NC State’s Consumer Innovation Consortium and professor of the practice.

The adventure begins!

One of the many reasons I chose the NC State Jenkins MBA program was because of the global immersion courses. At a time when globalization and international growth are strategic imperatives for the world’s top organizations, I knew I needed to also gain international business experience. NC State offers MBA students a number of international study opportunties — and not just for full-time MBA students. I’m excited to share this experience of traveling and learning on the ground with my peers from the Full-time, Professional and Professional Online MBA programs. In addition to the program itself, having a chance to meet more students and network is incredibly valuable.

The London-based course is focused on learning about and putting into practice “Trendspotting for culture and design.” Otherwise known as “cool-hunting,” trendspotting is a consumer behavior research technique dedicated to observing and predicting the new cultural developments that drive the demand for certain goods. As a student pursuing a marketing concentration with long-term goals of product marketing and brand management, I thought this immersion would not only provide me with international exposure but also help me cultivate a skill set that I could leverage for success both as an MBA and in my marketing career.

And, I’m excited to learn more from Dr. Reid. I’ve had the opportunity to work with her as part of the Consumer Innovation Practicum and have deep respect for knowledge and passion for the interdisciplinary world of consumer research and qualitative research methodologies. Our deliverable for the course will be a trends report based on our London experience.

I can’t wait to see what we have in store — stay tuned! In the meantime, here’s a snapshot of our itinerary the past few days:

Saturday: Arrive and get to work!

We’re staying close to Portobello Market, a street flea market, which is especially hopping on Saturday mornings. We were encouraged to take our time strolling around and people watching. We’re also close to Kensington Gardens.

  • Meet for a real English breakfast at a local pub
  • Spend time observing people and culture in Portobello Market
  • Join a bus tour of London (on those iconic red double-decker buses!)
  • Attend The Vaults underground theater festival, including exploring some cool graffiti tunnel art and attending a fringe play, “The Cement Garden

Sunday: Walk, walk and walk some more.

  • Trendspotting at London’s Sunday Up Market, one of the city’s most exciting and imaginative markets
  • Walking tour and pub walk through one of London’s most colorful, cosmopolitan, cool districts: Soho

Monday (today): Culture and class

  • Going to the Museum of London specifically to view a contemporary jewelry exhibit. We’ll be given free time for additional exploration.
  • We have an “open exploration” afternoon, but have been strongly encouraged to tour St. Paul’s Cathedral, focusing on art and architecture
  • We will meet in the late afternoon / early evening for a class session with Prof. Reid

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