When planning for a Richmond MBA Capstone Project, James Poole, GB’19, knew he wanted to work with Porsche.

“I am a car guy, and an even bigger fan of Porsche, so I had always dreamed of working with the organization,” Poole said.

Through networking and relationship building, Poole found a connection at Porsche in the financial services department. He took a chance and sent an email with a Capstone Project pitch. It paid off.

“He loved the idea, and passed my pitch up the ladder until it was approved by the CFO,” Poole said.

He completed a thorough market study of Porsche customer data, without any of the company’s data.

“They were interested to see what my independent findings would be and how closely they would match their own,” Poole said. “I started by researching Porsche's performance over the past decade and then identified which original equipment manufacturers compete with each of Porsche's models. From there I studied the customers in these sectors to understand how they purchase vehicles. Finally, I made recommendations based on trends in the market and opportunities to capture a greater portion of the market.”

Turns out, his market research was spot on with the majority of Porsche’s data.

“My general recommendation was to use omnichannel marketing to target a younger demographic, specifically those best suited to consume the Macan (small SUV) and Panamera (four-door sports car),” Poole said. “These customers provide an opportunity to broaden the age and gender diversity of the Porsche customer base. Additionally, I pitched some unique ideas like an augmented reality pre-inspection for leaseholders.”

Dr. Randy Raggio, director of The Richmond MBA, mentored Poole in his project, and says by connecting the program to Porsche, Poole has set other students up for success in the future.

“I was worried at first because we didn’t have a relationship with Porsche,” Raggio said. “James not only established and grew the relationship, but he was able to effectively use the Robins School research databases to nearly replicate Porsche’s own internal data, and also provide new insights they had not considered. He developed such a strong relationship with the lead contact and kept him constantly updated, that by the time he made his final presentation, one of his recommendations around artificial intelligence had already been shared with two other groups at the company. In the end, James was able to help Porsche see its business from a completely different perspective, which would not have been possible if he had relied solely on Porsche data. Thanks to James, I expect we’ll be partnering with Porsche on a future project.”

Poole says the chance to work with one of his dream companies on a project of such magnitude was incredible.

“I have dreamed of working in the car industry my entire life, so to shake hands with executives at Porsche and receive real feedback and confirmation from them was almost too much to handle,” Poole said.

He traveled to Atlanta to present his findings to the executives at Porsche this fall.

“The company culture of Porsche was truly incredible and their office space is thoughtful and inspiring. The Porsche museum in the lobby and racetrack outback doesn't hurt either,” Poole said.