Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (Research)


Marketing & International Business

First Advisor

Dr. Pio Fenton

Second Advisor

Dr. Gearóid Ó Suilleabháin


Design thinking, which initially emerged in the 1980s, has notably been recently receiving increased attention, particularly in business communities, as a process that enables rapid, innovative, and user-centric problem solving (Lockwood, 2010). As the forthcoming generations of marketing graduates enter this ‘Consumer Age’, they will be forced to think innovatively and empathetically in order to adjust to constant and rapid changes in our environment (Hanttu, 2013). Design thinking equips modern marketers with the opportunity to become consumercentric and effectively generate innovative solutions on a constant basis to complex challenges that exists (Mohr, 2015).

While the concept is gaining increasing hold amongst practitioners, surprisingly little academic attention has been devoted to applications of Design Thinking specifically in Marketing education settings, though the methodology’s strong emphasis on obtaining a deep understanding of the user would seem to connect with the principles of marketing (Glen et al., 2014). Notably, research has mainly been focused on business environments, leaving a gap where empirical research of Design Thinking specific to the Marketing student is needed. Thus the research question that I address in this study looks to determine:

“What potential can Design Thinking offer Marketing students in meeting workplace learning and performance challenges?"

The research design is itself based on the principles of design thinking thus applies the iterative, cyclical and human-centred nature of the process, predominantly relying on frequent engagement and interactions with the marketing student to aid in addressing the research question. This thesis contributes to the area of Marketing education by offering insight into the Marketing students’ unarticulated issues and needs in relation to the Marketing curriculum, and in addition explores the most sought after requirements by today’s Marketing industry employees. This study also offers recommendations for the development of a collaborative and engaging toolkit that can support a Marketing students’ creative and solution-orientated thinking.

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