Experiential learning is a key part of being a student at UConn’s School of Business. The Marketing Department provides many opportunities for students to apply their learning in course projects. For example, MBA students in Mary Caravella‘s Market Driven Management courses worked with three different organizations—Cognizant, HYPE (Hartford Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs), and UConn’s own Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (CVMDL)—to help them connect and engage with new potential customers.
While each project had slightly different goals, all students evaluated the market environment, identified one or more customer segments to target, and then recommended changes to the organization’s marketing mix to reach and engage these customers. Students rose to the challenge, supporting their recommendations with detailed analyses such as the market potential for a new product in different global regions, evaluation of alternative pricing strategies, and mockups of new website designs. Jeff Makray ’15 MBA gave high marks to the experience:
“The marketing proposal allowed us to draw from classrooms lessons and apply them in a practical way. Doing market research and applying thoughtful assumptions for market sizing and business feasibility are things I will take with me beyond my MBA. Also, it helped to build my confidence in trusting my own judgment when the available data can’t get me all the way. I’ll definitely be pulling from this experience next time I’m working on a business plan.”
Several teams of students continued to work with partner companies as part of Joseph Pancras‘Market Research class. If your organization is interested in partnering on a future project, contact Mary Caravella.
UConn’s Executive MBA (EMBA) students traveled to Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa as part of Robin Coulter‘s Global Business Issues course. South Africa, a diverse and emerging global market, serves as the gateway to much of the African continent. Students visited an array of businesses addressing topics such as direct investment, banking, business ownership, business challenges and opportunities. Highlights included:
“Investing in South Africa: High Risk or High Return?” Mteto Nyati, Managing Director, Microsoft
“Retail Strategies for Low-Income Populations” Suzanne Ackerman-Berman, Transformation Director, Pick n Pay
“Building a Successful Business in South Africa” Tony Gerrans, CEO, Grotto
While in South Africa, students visited important historical and cultural sites including the Soweto Township; Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela served his prison term for his campaign against the Apartheid regime; and the Apartheid Museum, which illustrates the rise and fall of apartheid, the system of racial segregation that blighted much of South Africa’s progress for half a century.
Students returned equipped with new knowledge and insights, having visited with executives from an array of companies and industries. “Understanding the history and culture of a country in which you conduct business is critical,” Noel Petrolati’16 EMBA observed. “I knew it was important, but to see and experience South Africa’s turbulent past and to see its economic development was enlightening.”
Working at the Stamford Learning Accelerator with faculty mentor Brian Brady, a team of MBA, JD/MBA, and MSBAPM students built an executive contact database of 3000 One Stops, their affiliates and local offices across the United States. The database connects each One Stop Center to its corresponding State Workforce Investment Board which provides vital grant funding to these centers and is a potential source of revenue for Access Technologies Group, a Connecticut company whose flagship simulation software product is Simentor.® This simulation software is designed to help individuals who face challenges such as learning disabilities, computer literacy, or explaining a criminal record, enabling them to overcome these challenges and increase their employment opportunities.
Professor Girish Punj with the assistance of Brian Brady, director of the UConn Stamford Learning Accelerator, offered an MBA level experiential learning course at the UConn Stamford Learning Accelerator in collaboration with the IBM Center for Innovation in Visual Analytics. Students interacted with IBM researchers and executives while working on various semester-length projects where they learned and experienced the latest generation of data visualization methodologies. They gained exposure to the rapidly evolving field of visual analytics and learned how to solve business problems using information visualization tools under the guidance of IBM data visualization experts located at various IBM facilities around the world.
“Visual Analytics provided unparalleled access to researchers at IBM who are developing the latest visualization technologies. The course exposed me to ways of representing large and complex data using interactive visualizations making it possible to gain insights and facilitate decision making. Aside from the knowledge gained in the course, the sense of team accomplishment and the accolades received from IBM made it an invaluable addition to my academics,” said Taylor Witt ’05, vice president, digital applications at IBM and a UConn MBA candidate.
“It was a great learning experience to discuss the latest visualization techniques and state-of-the-art visualization tools with IBM researchers around the world through virtual talks,” said Tugba Onder ’14 MBA.
“This was a very hands-on class that focused on visualizing and analyzing big data—which is everywhere, no matter what industry you’re in. You’ll learn a lot in this class from the experts at IBM and from your classmates. The semester will pass by quickly and you won’t believe how much you have accomplished,” said Jennifer Bui ’13 MBA, analyst, ALM People’s United Bank.
Assistant Professor Jane Gu’s Digital Marketing MBA students created their own websites, used search engine optimization, keyword advertising, and social media to drive traffic to their websites, and monitored effectiveness using web analytics. While most students had no web development experience before the class, many eagerly took on the project as an opportunity to build digital presence and to implement digital marketing skills they learned from class. Check out some of the students’ websites below!
Spaghetti Slurper:Matthew Eucalitto is an Italian-American student who grew up in a family that owns Italian restaurants and includes numerous Chefs. Matt developed his website to introduce others to some of his favorite Italian restaurants around Hartford.
Flying on Fridays:Matthew Rader created this website about recreational flying. The website contains information about how to get a pilot’s license and small planes. Matt also maintains a flying blog.
Meg’s Juice Recipes:Megan Blaschke built the website to provide a quick and to-the-point guide to educate people on the benefits of juicing. You can find recipes that Megan recommends and also her tips for juicing.
Hall David Marketing Strategies:Christina Davis created this website for her personal marketing consulting business. Christina also maintains a digital marketing blog.
J Hobbies:Jason Short built this website about his hobbies. In the Orchid section, Jason provides step-by-step instructions illustrated with pictures on how to grow, care for, and breed orchids.
Quality Furniture by Bill: Whitney Ammary redesigned the website of her family business. The website now sells wooden hand-painted accent tables featuring logos of colleges and universities, including UConn.
St. Bear Design: Adam Gooch designed this website to show his artwork and photography, with the hope that viewers will contact him to do design or photo work or go to his Etsy.com shop to buy a print.
The American Outlaws Hartford:Shawn Simao designed an activities hub website for The American Outlaws Hartford Chapter which he co-founded in 2009, providing information on their social club, soccer team, and charitable giving.