Lang grad student competing in U of G graduate research competition | Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics

Lang grad student competing in U of G graduate research competition

Posted on Wednesday, July 8th, 2020

Photo of Robert beside an image of someone shopping on their cell phone

In an era of convenience, grocery shopping habits are changing among the Millennial and Gen Z shoppers. Consumer habits and trends play a large role when it comes to future grocery store experiences, as retailers compete to get the newer generations to shop at their stores.

MSc (Marketing and Consumer Studies) graduate student Robert Abrams is using his research to better understand the choices Generation Z consumers make when choosing to buy their groceries. This research will allow retailers to better understand the choices and trade-offs that Gen Z consumers will likely make when evaluating where they want to shop.

Robert recently took on the added challenge of taking his research and distilling it down to a three-minute pitch. Competing in the University of Guelph’s Three Minute Thesis Competition, Robert was tasked with recording a three-minute presentation about his research in a way that engaged and informed an audience of non-specialist judges.

We spoke with Robert to learn more about his research and his experience competing in the U of G Three-Minute Thesis competition.

Where did you complete your undergrad degree and what program?

I completed my undergrad at the University of Waterloo in the Knowledge Integration program. I received a Bachelor of Knowledge Integration (BKI).

Why did you choose to pursue your master's degree at Lang?

I chose to pursue my master's degree at Lang because it offered a unique opportunity to specialize in marketing. The master's program offered a strong balance of theoretical coursework and a hands-on analytical approach which was a combination I had not seen anywhere else.

What has been your experience so far in the program?

My experience in the program has been incredible! I have been extremely fortunate to work with some amazing professors in the classroom and as part of my thesis committee. I have had many opportunities to develop my skills through hands-on projects dealing with academic and industry marking problems. These experiences put me in a great position to successfully complete my thesis.

Can you briefly explain your research?

My research is looking at the Canadian Grocery Retail Marketplace to better understand the choices Generation Z consumers make when choosing where to buy their groceries. From a marketing research perspective, there is little known about Gen Z compared to their generational counterparts (Millenials, Gen X, Baby Boomers). My approach to this problem will provide insight into the choices and trade-offs Gen Z consumers will be likely to make when evaluating where they want to shop. This insight will offer grocery retailers a better understanding of how to market to their youngest segment in order to secure their customer base for the future.

What was the experience like competing in the 3MT competition?

The 3MT competition has been a unique and rewarding experience. The challenge of distilling a thesis project (10+ months of work) into 3 minutes forces you to be both creative and extremely disciplined. It is an opportunity to identify the vital components of your research and present them in a way that makes sense, not just to you, but to anyone who might hear it. It has been an extremely valuable exercise for me as I begin to progress towards the end of my master's. Going through the 3MT competition has allowed my to learn how to tell people about my thesis in a more confident, concise fashion. This skill has benefited me not only when I talk to friends, family, or colleagues about my work but also as I begin to interview for future opportunities.

Be sure to cast a vote for Robert’s 3MT presentation in the People’s Choice Award competition. Voting is open until July 12, 2020.

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