Friday, November 15, 2013
"I can’t believe it; the school we’ve never heard of won." That was the standard reaction from everyone in the room when our team of four John Brown University students won the 2013 Collegiate Effie Brand Challenge. (The Effies are a bit like the Grammys, but for marketing; the Brand Challenge is their collegiate division, making me something like an amateur version of Adele for advertising.) I wasn’t terribly surprised that none of the other schools or top-level executives hadn’t heard of JBU. To be fair, most people outside of Arkansas haven’t heard of JBU, and I chronically have to tell people, "Not the abolitionist; this one was a preacher." But I also wasn’t surprised that my team was able to win a prestigious national competition. (Check out JBU's project – "What You've Been Looking For" – on Youtube.)
My education at the Donald G. Soderquist College of Business is truly top notch. JBU’s small classes and enthusiastic faculty led me to develop close relationships with several of my professors that have enhanced my learning experience. Professors like Ms. Fast, Dr. Kennelley and Mr. Balla provide valuable insights on class projects during office hours. Professor’s doors are always open to talk, whether it’s discussing a topic from class, an article from Fast Company that sparked my interest, or an upcoming interview for my dream job.
JBU’s fantastic location supplements my education with access to many of the great resources northwest Arkansas has to offer. In my Marketing Research class, I toured Walmart’s Innovation Lab and the University of Arkansas’s RFID Technology Center, exploring innovation in retail and supply chain technology. My Consumer Behavior and Marketing Strategies classes brought in numerous guest speakers from local startups and vendor offices – in addition to Walmart executives – to share how they apply the concepts I learn in class on a day-to-day basis. Connections with JBU alumni in NWA even helped me find an incredible internship opportunity with Del Monte Foods this past summer.
JBU's College of Business focuses on hand-on learning opportunities that add value to my education. Strategic Management, the capstone business course, allows me to experience the challenges of designing a business plan, running a business advisory board meeting with local professionals and receiving critique and feedback from actual investors. I’ve had the opportunity to co-teach a freshman seminar with the remarkable Dr. Moore. And then, of course, there’s the Effie Brand Challenge, the icing on the cake of my college experience.
Presenting my project to members of MINI USA’s marketing department, advertising agencies and members of Effie Worldwide made me realize just how valuable my education has been. All the opportunities JBU afforded my team and me prepared us to succeed in that national competition and beyond. I know when I graduate in May that I will have received a quality education and I will enter the professional world well-equipped to succeed.
Senior marketing major