Mackenzie Bailey

"Studying my master’s was a time of excitement and fulfilment for me, and it was with great devotion that I adjusted to life in the program and made many friends along the way."

Country of origin: Canada
Programme: MSc Marketing Strategy and Innovation
Graduation year: 2018

What is your background prior to studying your Master’s in Marketing Strategy and Innovation?

I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur since childhood. Hard work, knowledge, commerce and self-direction are four things I value, and a passion for tea defines me.

Before attending the Business School (formerly Cass) and completing my MSc in Marketing Strategy and Innovation, I worked in Africa for a year (2016-17). While living in Ghana and Tanzania, I worked in microfinance, alongside many inspiring small-scale women entrepreneurs.

During this time, I helped launch two businesses, one with Henrietta in Ghana and another with Esther in Tanzania. Throughout the process of launching and growing these businesses, many cups of chai maziwa (milk tea) and hibiscus tea were shared.

While exchanging knowledge with the women, I was intrigued by the branding on dalla-dalla’s (minivans used to transport people, in lieu of buses) and how ingenious businesses like Blue Band margarine and Coca Cola used the sides of walls as creative ad space to reach audiences in local markets.

What inspired you to pursue the MSc Marketing Strategy and Innovation?

Wanting to deepen my marketing and strategy knowledge, I knew the next step was to pursue a master's degree at a prestigious university. With great excitement, I received my acceptance letter in 2017 for my first choice, the Business School.

The program's excellent professors, such as Dr. Oguz Acar and Professor Caroline Wiertz, guided my peers and me through the course material and projects which tested us.

The textbooks, research papers and resources at the library became valuable tools that we used to succeed in the Marketing Strategy and Innovation course.

Studying my master’s was a time of excitement and fulfilment for me, and it was with great devotion that I adjusted to life in the program and made many friends along the way. Tea sustained me during the day, and, in the evenings, a scotch at the Artillery Arms!

The reward for my hard work and dedication to the course content was a well-earned Distinction upon graduating, an event which seemed to come around too soon.

Tell us about your career so far.

The next chapter of my journey launched me into the exciting experience of working at a digital marketing agency in Vancouver, Canada. While my degree had given me knowledge, working at the agency gave me tactical know-how.

However, my lifelong passion for tea was enticing me to walk the path of entrepreneurship, and I could refuse this call to a new adventure for only so long. So, I left the digital marketing agency to start my own business.

I have now started Steeped Content, a digital content marketing company serving businesses in various industries but specialising in the tea industry. This allowed me to remain closely connected to my tea community, where people like me hold a deeply disproportionate passion for tea.

I credit the digital press we have received to the marketing knowledge gained through my master’s, my work experience and my membership in the tea community.

My dream is to launch an eCommerce tea company, The Tea Tribe, and to master the supply chain challenge. I have, however, learned entrepreneurship is not a straight path.

The most we can hope for is the knowledge to propel us forward, the courage and work ethic to stay the course, and above all, a passion that endures. True passion can make you feel elated when times are going well and hold you steady when times are not.

It is my sincerest hope that my path will lead back to the Business School in the future. I would love to one day participate in the MSc Marketing Strategy and Innovation programme in a new capacity.

Perhaps, future students will be submitting their marketing strategy projects for The Tea Tribe one day, or maybe you will see my face in the panel of judges during your second-semester pitch!