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Newport Polo Club Owner: MBA Students’ Research Will Affect Entire Industry

MBA students applaud
August 17, 2017


Academics | Student Success

On August 15, 18 members of the MBA program presented their capstone project, the culmination of their coursework at Curry. The students worked as a team of consultants for the Newport Polo Club, in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Under the guidance of faculty mentors, the cohort defined, analyzed, and developed innovative, data-driven recommendations to increase club membership.

View Photos from the MBA Capstone presentation with Newport Polo Club

In conducting market research for the project, the group interviewed captains and general managers from 36 polo clubs, representatives from the United States Polo Association, the chief marketing officer of the San Diego Padres, and many others. They ultimately identified four core strategies for increasing membership and revenue:

  1. Upgrade the club's legacy WiFi and leverage it to enhance the fan experience, improve point-of-sale efficiency, and learn about customer behavior;
  2. Build a mobile app to drive fan engagement;
  3. Invest in promotional videos to both strengthen the current fanbase and attract and educate new attendees;
  4. Use a variety of tools - including signage, a jumbotron, a mascot, and a family-friendly "Kid Zone" - to enhance the club's brand.

The cohort also suggested raising ticket costs from $12 to $15 per person, in keeping with standard industry pricing. The group anticipates that adopting their recommendations would result in a 177 percent return on investment within a year.

Newport Polo Club owner, Dan Keating, expressed his gratitude for the cohort's research and recommendations, adding that he plans to implement all of them in the near future. He anticipates the changes will also influence his peers at other polo clubs.

"You're going to affect the whole industry," Keating said. "There's no telling how far the impact will go."

The 18 graduates also received their Curry College MBA pins, in acknowledgement of their completion of the program.

The cohort included: Project Manager Mark T. Reilly, DVM; Team Lead Michael J. Cocce; Team Lead Natalie J. Dolan; Team Lead Catherine A. Salley; Dana W. Bartie; Matthew Deacon, Esq.; Frantzi DesRavines; Williana Desravines-Beauvoir; Paul L. Fleury; Ivan D. Ivanov; Erin Moriarty; Medgine D. Nau; Oluwafisayo Ogunkoya; Keri J. O'Reilly; Stanley Sainterlien; Janet P. Sefakis; Dawneca L. Simpson; and Ling Zhuo.