Temple Times Online Edition
    MAY 18, 2006
NewsEventsArchivesPhotosStaffLinksTemple Home

Hands-on classes with real clients give students an edge

As they begin the job interview process, many students who finished their undergraduate programs with work experience will find they have a clear advantage over those who didn’t.

Often, that experience comes from internships, which most Temple departments strongly encourage and help facilitate. But for students of several courses, academics and fieldwork merged this semester through work with real-life clients.

The marketing department in The Fox School of Business and Management offers a co-op experience course in which students act as a marketing agency for a corporate client. The School of Communications and Theater’s advertising department offers a course in which students are broken into account teams for several clients. In the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, a sports and recreation administration course forms a 501 nonprofit corporation, and students plan real charity events.

In all these cases, Temple students who have been assigned professional roles in their agencies learn to work together to deliver high-quality products to eager clients.

Marketing Subaru

(Photo by Ryan S. Brandenberg/University Photography)
In March, Subaru managers Lee Grodsky (left) and DeLu Jackson (second from left) attended a promotional event for the Subaru Impreza at the Bell Tower. The event was organized by students in the “Marketing Co-Op Experience” class, including graduating seniors Kortney Kutsop (second from right) and Jose Delgado.

Students in Mary Conran’s “Marketing Co-Op Experience” class didn’t just learn marketing basics; they applied them by marketing Subaru’s Impreza to Temple students. The 14 students in the class participated in PROJECT ACCELERATION: The Subaru Impreza Collegiate Challenge, competing against other 11 other schools in the United States for the best marketing plan.

This is the fifth year that The Fox School’s “Co-Op Experience” class has marketed a real product of service for an actual company. Last year, the class marketed the new Chevrolet Cobalt in the spring semester and employment opportunities with the CIA in the fall semester.

“Because of classes or other commitments, these students didn’t get the opportunity to have a real marketing internship, something they could discuss with potential employers,” Conran said of the course. “The idea for the class was to build the internship around the project.”

This year, students had to run all the ideas for their marketing campaign by Subaru executives. “It wasn’t just enough for them to come with a good idea,” Conran said. “They also had to deal with implementation of an integrated communications campaign.”

According to Lee Grodsky, regional marketing manager of Subaru, the partnership with Temple students not only helped the students gain real-life experience, it also helped Subaru with marketing strategies.

“This was a good learning lab for us,” he said. “We watched the students explore nontraditional media ways, and their approaches to reaching out to the students on campus.”
Subaru gave the students a budget of $2,500. The students created interest in the cars by organizing two events on campus and then advertising them on Facebook, an online database providing the opportunity for college students to communicate with each other. The students also placed ads in The Temple News and distributed fliers around campus.

Adrienne Boone, a marketing major graduating in May, is the agency coordinator. She enjoyed using what she learned in the classroom, and applying it to everyday life.

“We quickly realized that a budget of $2,500 does not go as far as you would expect,” she said.

Diamond Edge ad agency

(Photo by Ryan S. Brandenberg/University Photography)
In April, Diamond Edge Communications advertising students were working on professional-quality advertising materials for real-life clients.

Diamond Edge Communications, originally known as Creative Services Workshop in the mid-1980s, is a student-run ad agency aligned with an internship for junior and seniors in the advertising department in the School of Communications and Theater. One of only seven student-led ad agencies in the country, DEC provides a real-world atmosphere and hands-on experience.

The DEC classroom, overseen by advertising professor James Marra, is structured into eight groups that plan and execute real client projects. From concept to production, DEC develops overall marketing strategies and tactics for its clients and also provides brochures, posters, letterhead, Web pages, event planning and other related services. The students’ clients have included the Alzheimer’s Foundation, W.I.S.E., SEPTA, the U.S. State Department and Empyreal Chocolates, a new chocolate company that DEC helped launch this year.

“If you’re serious about advertising, DEC is the greatest thing you can do to prepare yourself for the demands of the industry,” said this semester’s DEC account manager, Shenese Stewart, a senior advertising major. “You learn a lot about yourself and how you work with other people.”

DEC has earned regional and national recognition for its excellence in advertising, most notably the Silver Award for the Direct Marketing Education Foundation student competition (second place out of 140 schools).

“We’ve discovered that DEC students invariably catch interviewers’ attention when they talk about their hands-on experience in a student-run agency,” said Michael Maynard, chair of the advertising department. “DEC has evolved into a smooth-running, on-campus internship that rivals the kind of hands-on experiences students gain from Center City agencies.”

A 501 corporation

Students’ real-life experience is not limited to the corporate world. A charity golf tournament, adopt-a-school, clothing and blood drives are just a few of the special events students organize as part of their participation in sports and recreation administration professor Michael Jackson’s “Sport Administration 501 Corp.” class for sports and recreation graduate students in the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management.

For 15 years, Jackson has been helping his students prepare for the real world by giving them experience in event planning and corporate structure. “We emphasize learning through understanding and doing,” Jackson said. “We stress competency, critical thinking, decision-making and teamwork.”

For the first day of the semester, the class is set up as a business, for which the students elect board members. Along with academic requirements, as members of their corporation, students organize and participate in University and community service events throughout the semester.
Each October, the fall semester class organizes a golf tournament, proceeds from which go to a charity the students choose. The golf tournament is the largest event the class holds. Students are given the date and location of the tournament, but have only four weeks to organize the rest of the event, including finding golfers, sponsors and items for the silent auction.

Since the golf tournament started 10 years ago, nearly $60,000 has been donated to Philadelphia youth charities. Last fall, students raised $6,000 to be donated to Variety – The Children’s Charity of Greater Philadelphia, and supported other charities as well.
For Andrew Girman, a teaching assistant in STHM’s industry relations department, the golf event was “a real wakeup call.”

“We had to deal with time and pressure situations, similar to working in a professional environment,” said Girman, who last year was the 501 Corp. class’s financial chair. “We had what seemed like unlimited number of tasks to complete in a short period of time, but it brings you together.”

Jackson requires that students stay connected to alumni of the class, keeping them apprised of their progress. The students share a lifetime bond with 501 Corp. alumni; they even have a name for themselves: “501’ers.”

“It’s kind of like a fraternity or sorority,” Jackson said. “They bond and work together for life.”

- By Rebecca Carroll and Erin Cusack