University of Pretoria I Final Exam Presentations

June 11, 2024


In 2018, The University of Pretoria Marketing Management Department, recognising the need for a dimension of reality and practicality to augment the theoretical and conceptual learning experience of third year marketing students, reached out to leading brands for assistance. Italtile was one of the brands, collaborating with senior lecturers to develop a real-life module that would allow third-year students to reap the benefits of work-integrated learning.

At its core, the module was designed to provide the foundations for students to acquire holistic knowledge and understanding of selling, sales management and account management. The joint venture offered a more hands-on approach, to provide students with the ability to practically apply different sales techniques, including the sales process, within a real sales context across both retail and commercial sectors. Six years later, the Italtile module continues to inspire, nurture and guide students in the last year of their learning journey.

In 2024, the sixth year of partnership, Italtile once again integrated students as much as possible – hands on – in the Italtile world. The module included immersions in various Italtile showrooms, led by Nicole Russell, as well as presentations from senior Italtile personnel and outside specialists.

Sergio Galli, the Director of Italtile Retail, spent a considerable amount of time mentoring the 2024 cohort in sales management and the challenge of managing people within the retail and sales sector.

Annabelle Johnson, Managing Director of Mick McCormick Training (heavily involved in the sales and advanced training of Italtile sales staff) gave up personal time to assist in mentoring the students through the management of difficult clients. This is an often overlooked but crucial part of the sales process, and thus was an invaluable contribution to the students’ sales studies.

All the mentoring and practical immersions completed, the students were handed their final exam assignments, centred around three different retail target market segments: a 40+ couple renovating the family home, a postgraduate student and the first apartment, and a 60+ couple renovating a retirement / holiday home.

Ten groups were tasked with presenting their learnings in a ‘pitch’ to a panel of adjudicators on the 5th June, including marketing strategy, ‘always-on’ advertising proposals and sales proposals.

Adjudicating panel:

Marius Wade, UJ University Judicator

Jane Askew, Italtile Marketing

Nicole Russell, Italtile Marketing

Melanie Wiese, BEM 315 Lecturer

Danita van Heerden, BEM 315 Lecturer

Jade Verbeek, BEM 315 Lecturer

Each member of every group acquitted themselves well, and each group presented a united front with impeccable grooming, enthusiasm and passionate team spirit, not to mention a solid understanding of the brand and the task at hand. Each team proposed interesting ideas, and among them, some truly exceptional concepts emerged, which Italtile’s marketing team will add to the consideration set when forming marketing strategies going forward.

Italtile’s Nicole Russell celebrates the growth of the students under her care. As she frames it: “We’ve done our job well when our students thrive. And we are so proud of the dedication and effort from the students throughout the year. We look forward to the final prize giving later this year, and we just know that the learning the students have taken from the Italtile Marketing and Sales Module will pave the way to success in their careers.”

Once students have acquired the necessary knowledge and skills from completing the module, they are offered the opportunity to apply for the Italtile Student Internship Programme. This has resulted in promising career paths for several ‘sales-students-turned-working-professionals’, all set to climb the marketing ladder.