Monday, March 31, 2014 - 11:03am

Three Saunders College of Business students at Rochester Institute of Technology believe "Unlock the Magic!" will attract new millennial customers to Macy's department stores.

The team earned first place in Macy's Undergraduate Marketing Challenge 2014-winning iPads and an all-expense-paid trip to New York City in mid-April to present its idea to Macy's executives. The winning participants from Saunders College are fourth-year finance majors Aharva Sabnis of Pune, India, and Tylre Reidinger of Mendon, N.Y., and fifth-year finance major Pablo Franco of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

"The Macy's Challenge was to come up with a marketing strategy, preferably social media-driven, that would make more millennials, people ages 18-29, become Macy's customers," said Sabnis, the team leader. "The project also includes an analysis of the current social media environment-what is hot, what is losing steam.

"Millennials are currently estimated to have $200 billion in direct purchasing power, and they love playing mobile games."

Unlock the Magic! is a unisex game that allows players to earn rewards the more the play-discounts that they can use at Macy's online or in-store. The free mobile game allows Macy's to promote its extensive social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+.

The Saunders team will be competing against first-place teams from the University of California-Berkeley, University of Pennsylvania, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Arizona, and University of Maryland-College Park.

Note: One of nine colleges at RIT, Saunders College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB International) and enrolls more than 1,200 undergraduate and graduate students. Saunders College and its entrepreneurial Venture Creations Incubator work in partnership with RIT's Albert J. Simone Center for Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship to integrate business education with RIT's world-leading technical and creative programs. Graduate programs include Master of Business Administration, MBA-Accounting, Executive MBA and master's degrees in finance and administration.

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