Project TMBA Part I, Club Reorg

An external overview of the project backround, TMBA 2020

For those who are unfamiliar with the student club, TMBA, it is not unusual. TMBA is an academic club that caters to business school students and has been in operation for over 20 years. Many of its alumni have gone on to pursue careers in the financial industry, which has been one of the most popular career choices over the past few decades. Due to its location, the majority of club members come from prestigious universities in Taipei City, such as NTU and NCCU.


During my time in grad school, I had the opportunity to join two student clubs, one was NTU consulting club, while the other TMBA. TMBA later became my personal side project that I dedicated my entire year among COVID. It spanned across 2 semesters and even took up my summer vacation. In 2020, I felt a strong urge to make a significant impact, and I knew I had to do something that would create a meaningful change. So, I poured my heart and soul into this “project” and made sure to build up a better club for business school students.

What I know I was doing (and it’s the right thing to do)

Right from the beginning, when I was as the only person in charge of the strategy and marketing department, I decided to take a different path. First, I knew that if I wanted to make a real impact, I had to make some organizational adjustments. Second, If I didn’t do this, then no one would do, and this department will discontinue. So The whole point is to restructured and redecorated the Strategy & Marketing department, which was open officially to all club members and all students. I strongly believed that this move would benefit the entire organization, not just from an operational standpoint but also in terms of talent competition. So I put forward several plans, which were reviewed, revised, and executed on a bi-weekly basis.

Problem definition:

The Organization Problems and Risks

One of the major issues I noticed was that the club was heavily focused on finance-related services. While this was important, it meant that other crucial areas, such as marketing and other functions that targeted competitive industries or roles in the job market like Tech, FMCG, and Consulting, were being neglected. I understood that in order for our organization to grow, we needed to prioritize the quality of our talent network. The better the quality of our network, the more effective and efficient we would be in benefiting both individual talents and the organization as a whole.

Also, at this life stage of early to mid 20s, young talents tend to be more uncertain about their career choices and prefer to keep their options open until they figure out their long-term goals, which was why they would go to these kinds of clubs. Therefore, instead of categorizing talents solely based on industry, I believed it was crucial to focus on the fundamental and transferable skills that each “function” or “group” could provide, both individually and as part of the club. In another words, TMBA should not be defined by its departments and treated as tradeoff when you had an internship in a similar vertical1. Instead, TMBA should think about what would make up a good community to the business world, and be that part to connect talents, to educate talents, to enable talents, then grow with talent networks.

Pre-work: Reposition after evaluation

To get a clear picture of where the club stood, I conducted a thorough evaluation of our competitors within a specific timeframe. This evaluation involved analyzing our service offerings, organizational structure, and the competitive landscape. It became evident that our heavy emphasis on finance-related services was limiting our ability to cater to other important functions and attract talent from diverse backgrounds. Interestingly, the club’s brand name, which included “MBA,” inadvertently created a narrow perception of what our club should be about.

It was clear to me that we needed to reposition ourselves in order to achieve several important goals:

  1. By diversifying our service offerings, we could better support our members’ career development and appeal to a wider range of prospective members.
  2. Expanding into less-related functions would position us as a versatile and forward-thinking organization within the student club ecosystem.
  3. Most importantly, this repositioning would address our internal lack of marketing resources to some extent.

Action taken

Building a newer version of relationship inside the organization

Building New Relationships within the Organization: When I made the decision to pivot the Strategy & Marketing department, it brought about a significant change in relationships within the club. I had to carefully navigate these new dynamics and define the role of the Strategy & Marketing department through my interactions with other department directors. It required a considerable amount of effort, time, patience, and a touch of empathy, as not everyone shared the same level of awareness and motivation. Drawing on my personal skills in marketing communication and project management, I worked towards improving member acquisition, garnering alumni support, and monetizing offline events through effective campaign and content marketing. These efforts formed the foundation of our new relationships.

Internal marketing for better brand marketing

At its core, marketing is about creating value, addressing needs, and fulfilling desires. However, we often overlook the importance of taking the necessary steps to achieve our objectives. For instance, while we understood the significance of brand marketing, we lacked the immediate capability to create compelling brand assets. It’s worth noting that our organization had primarily focused on the financial segment, not as a deliberate choice but rather due to the nature of the industry. Traditionally, the financial industry didn’t require extensive marketing resources based on its economic logic. Additionally, our organization’s history revealed an interesting aspect of our marketing function: we still covered research content, but the way information was being disseminated had shifted towards social platforms. Alumni, who once relied on printed materials like magazines, were now adapting to the changing media landscape. However, many still held limited marketing perspectives. Nonetheless, this highlighted the continued need for marketing function roles within our club. One crucial aspect was to enhance the integration of marketing functions into each department, fostering cross-collaboration.

The real struggle and the real challenges (What I knew I was doing but not sure how it will go)

All these efforts mentioned above were just the beginning. Things seemed starting to take off. I’ve reached out to some early members of marketing department, gaining some positive feedbacks from alumni and peers, showing their willingness to help. At this time, It already took me about three months, which was my entire summer vacation in 2020, then I’m able to move forward and address the root cause of the problem. This was the very reason I had chosen to embark on this journey, where personal interests or opportunity costs didn’t factor too much into my decision-making process. See next.

  1. Time and energy are limited resources, and it’s understandable that individuals who were initially committed to the club might have to reevaluate their priorities when they secure internships or other opportunities. While it’s not fair to blame them for making decisions that are in their best interest, it’s important to know the potential harm it can cause to the club. When dedicated members shift their focus away from the club, it can impact the club’s overall progress and undermine its ability to achieve its goals. Thus, finding a balance between individual pursuits and collective club objectives is crucial for the long-term sustainability and success of the organization ↩︎