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Copenhagen Business School

A new CBS program focusing on consumerism has enrolled a maximum number of students

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A new bachelor program kicks off for the first time in August. It’s filled to the max with 90 new students where they’ll learn to provide customer foresight – not with a crystal ball, but by combining methods from anthropology, cultural studies, sociology and communication studies. The program has been developed in close collaboration with the Danish business community.

News |   08. Aug 2019

Kasper Christensen

Journalist

The bachelor in Business Administration and Market Dynamics and Cultural Analysis begins its first run this month. Despite this being its maiden voyage, there have been a considerable number of applicants.

“The intake this year is 90 students which is the maximum capacity of students. It turns out this program is very popular among students in Denmark, and by some rankings we took fifth place on the number of new students applying, so we’re very excited to get started,” Ana Alacovska, Associate Professor and Director of Studies at the Department of Management, Society and Communication says.

“The program is also interdisciplinary in terms of combining the traditional business and administration subjects with anthropology, cultural studies, sociology and communication studies,” says Ana Alacovska, Associate Professor and Director of Studies at the Department of Management, Society and Communication.

Streamlining the educational portfolio

The new bachelor fits in with CBS’ strategic goal in recent years to optimize the business economic profile so that it complies with the developments in the business community outside university walls.

Therefore, last year, Ana Alacovska and her colleagues turned their attention towards the Danish business community, where they conducted a large-scale analysis of Denmark’s labor market needs. They interviewed fifteen representatives from different Danish companies to find out which competences they lacked – and the result was quite consistent.

“The most clear finding in our study was the demand for candidates who can generate and analyze consumer insights and foresight, and this is basically why we developed this new program,” Ana Alacovska says.

A comprehensive skill set

To gain the right competences needed to analyze consumers and provide insights and foresight, students will learn to use an academic toolbox of interdisciplinary methods and approaches from different academic disciplines.

“The graduates of this program will be equipped with knowledge and competences to gather, analyze and leverage consumer insights into actionable and strategic business and economic outcomes and processes. The program is built upon an interdisciplinary approach to consumer trends, consumer cultures and consumer behaviors by combining qualitative and quantitative methods to market and cultural analysis,” Ana Alacovska explains.

“The program is also interdisciplinary in terms of combining the traditional business and administration subjects with anthropology, cultural studies, sociology and communication studies. So we aim to develop a comprehensive skill set in terms of consumer analytics and consumer understanding from different combined perspectives.”

The fortuneteller’s crystal ball

As Ana Alacovska explains, an important part of the skill set that students will learn to use in the new program is the ability to translate consumer data results into qualified guesses about future developments in consumer cultures, values and needs. This may seem a bit difficult to do in a digital world that is changing so rapidly. But according to Ana Alacovska, this is actually possible.

“We’re not developing clairvoyant or supernatural powers. But we do believe that by developing the skill set and competences to generate discerning knowledge about consumer trends, cultural insights and movements, then, graduates can, with lesser or greater certainty, strategically plan, anticipate and affect what’s going to happen,” she says and continues.

“So when we say that graduates will be able to provide foresight, we’re not looking into a fortuneteller’s crystal ball. We’re talking about generating a comprehensive knowledge of the market based on past experience, sound methodological approaches and theoretical knowledge – which can be used to generate qualified guesses about future consumer developments.”

Golden age of data

Just as it has been repeated over and over again in the news that new technologies and the rapidly changing media landscape affects us humans, and the world around us in numerous ways, these developments have also shown to have consequences for the business world.

According to Ana Alacovska, these are some of the consequences that the new bachelor program in Business Administration and Market Dynamics and Cultural Analysis, tries to address.

“Despite the fact that cultures, market dynamics and consumer behaviors have always been changing, nowadays, contemporary markets are really experiencing profound, rapid and erratic changes. This calls for a very stringent and robust skill set for companies to respond adequately to these increased and changing market dynamics,” she explains and continues.

“Nowadays, we live in a golden age of consumer data. There’s an explosion of data that’s made it difficult for companies to understand what their consumers really want. So what companies need right now is not more data, but good analysts who understand both the quantitative data and the customers’ nuanced lifestyles in order to understand the changes in consumer patterns. And this is exactly what we want to teach our students.”

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