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SCU Product Club Hosts Its Second Bi-Annual Product Challenge Event

The student-run Product Club recently hosted its second-ever, school-wide Product Challenge for graduate students and alumni. Designed to inspire students for a future career in Product Marketing, participants work in teams to design a successful Go-To-Market strategy for a new product launch under the mentorship of several industry experts.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (August 31, 2021)

Student-run SCU Product Club hosted its Product Challenge Summer 2021 on August 7, 2021. It was the second Leavey School-wide product challenge. Eight industry experts and four participating teams of 22 graduate students attended the event virtually.

This challenge was designed to inspire students for a future career in Product Marketing. During the event, students had the opportunity to learn how to design a successful Go-To-Market strategy for a new product launch. Students were presented with a fictional product designed during the pandemic, the problem that this new product was trying to solve, and the targeted segment. Participating graduate students worked in teams of 4 or 5 to reposition the product for the changing landscape of the market. Each team was assigned to an industry expert and had the opportunity to work closely with them and receive mentorship throughout the challenge. Each team delivered a business model, a press release, and a final presentation.

The event was designed by current MBA students and the Product Club leadership team Karan Gupta, Ollie Zhou, Rachel Chang, Melody Nouri, and Vandita Vijaykumar, and under the guidance of Professor Kumar Sarangee, and Professor Charles Byers.

The industry leaders and faculty members that served as judges and coaches for this event were (as per alphabetical order):

  • Jennifer Adams: SCU Alum, Sr. Director of Go-to-Market Strategy & Programs at Poly
  • Priyanka Bhargava: SCU Alum, GTM Strategy Specialist at Google Cloud
  • Charles Byers: Professor of practice and lecturer at SCU Leavey School of Business
  • Sheldon D'Paiva: SCU Alum, Senior Director of Product Marketing at VMware
  • Panchaya Pimprapoat: SCU Alum, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Zendesk
  • Annette Blackham Reed: SCU Alum, Director of Marketing Campaigns at Nutanix
  • Kumar Sarangee: Director of EMBA at SCU Leavey School of Business
  • Shilpi Sneha, SCU Alum, Product Marketing Manager at Cisco Meraki


Testimonials from Judges and Participants

“It was great to be part of this event - and fantastic to see events like these run for the MBA students!” - Sheldon D’Paiva, Senior Director of Product Marketing at VMWare, Judge

“It was a delightful experience! Great job everyone!!” - Shilpi Sneha, Product Marketing Manager at Cisco Meraki, Coach

“The Product Marketing Challenge has been my favorite activity at SCU yet. I was able to work alongside MBA students in varying cohorts who had diverse backgrounds, as we tackled a GTM plan for a fictional product. I tapped into my experience as a market researcher and the theories learned in MKTG 3000, while other members on my team applied their unique skill sets. Together we presented our GTM plan in front of industry professionals, who ultimately awarded us the “Most Viable GTM Plan”. I thoroughly enjoyed making connections with my teammates, acquainting myself with the Product Club, and having the opportunity to learn from industry vetted coaches and judges.” - Taylor Holash, Tax Associate at TJO & Associates, Current MBA student, and challenge participant

“I particularly liked the fact that we were mixed into groups with different backgrounds. I think the topic was well designed to address a current social challenge. The feedback from the judges was really spot on and current. It helped us understand how to apply our strengths to the problem. The Product Club Challenge was relevant to our times and the feedback from the judges was insightful. Great learning experience!” - Minou Kamkar, HR Consultant at M!NK Consulting Services, Current MBA student, and challenge participant

“Product Innovation Challenge is a perfect avenue to learn all the relevant marketing/product frameworks in a collaborative time constraint environment. As the challenge takes place twice a year, you can reinforce your learning and all in all make new contacts while having fun!” - Nag Batta, Technical Program/Product Management at Nvidia, Current MBA student, and challenge participant

“Today’s event was great fun, thank you for organizing.Our team definitely learnt a lot! We’ll be back for the next challenge & will hopefully perform better.” - Riyanka Mathew, Current MBA student, and challenge participant

“Another fantastic event executed by the Product Team! I am grateful to all who provided their time and expertise to create a hands-on and fun learning experience. Thank you all!” - Karley Delorme, Senior Business Consultant at EY, Current MBA student, and challenge participant

“This was a lot of fun and very informative as well. Looking forward to more events like these.” - Jose Pedroza, Sr. Additive Manufacturing Engineer at Earlens Corporation, Current MBA student, and challenge participant

“Thanks, Product Club for yet another brilliant learning experience. Appreciate all the hard work that goes behind planning these events for us.” - Smita Das, Current MBA student, and challenge participant

About SCU Product Club

Founded in July 2020 by Rachel Chang and Ollie Zhou, SCU Product Club’s vision is to accelerate the journey of SCU students to become future Product leaders.

About Santa Clara University

Founded in 1851, Santa Clara University sits in the heart of Silicon Valley—the world’s most innovative and entrepreneurial region. The University’s stunningly landscaped 106-acre campus is home to the historic Mission Santa Clara de Asís. SCU has among the best four-year graduation rates in the nation and is rated by PayScale in the top 1 percent of universities with the highest-paid graduates. SCU has produced elite levels of Fulbright Scholars as well as four Rhodes Scholars. With undergraduate programs in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, and graduate programs in six disciplines, the curriculum blends high-tech innovation with social consciousness grounded in the tradition of Jesuit, Catholic education. For more information see

About Leavey School of Business

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, one of the most dynamic business environments in the world, the Leavey School of Business combines academic excellence in the 450-year Jesuit tradition, with an energetic, innovative spirit that typifies the region. Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business offers one of the nation's best graduate business programs ranked No. 13 Executive MBA by U.S. News & World Report, No. 20 ranked Evening MBA by U.S. News & World Report, and No. 40 ranked Online MBA by U.S. News & World Report. Our Undergraduate Business programs rank in the Top 15% and No. 23 nationwide in best undergraduate teaching according to U.S. News & World Report. For more information, visit

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