By Jessica Borders
Times West Virginian
A group of West Virginia University students recently earned second place in the Taziki’s Collegiate Marketing Challenge, and gained hands-on, real-world experience through the process.
Dr. Mike Walsh, associate professor of marketing in the WVU College of Business and Economics, served as the faculty mentor for the students involved in the competition.
A couple years ago, he stumbled across an opportunity for the college to be part of a marketing challenge like this and thought the experience would be neat for the students. He initially included the competition as a project for a course that he taught.
Walsh said he found that the quality of work from the students wasn’t as good as it needed to be because they were trying to balance all the other tasks related to the class. So he decided to redo the concept as a stand-alone experience, which has worked very well.
“We’ve set this up so that the students actually are taking this as if this is a class and they actually earn academic credit for it,” he said. “But unlike regular classes, there are no lectures, there are no exams, there are no papers.”
The whole experience focuses on the specific challenge, and the students are expected to put the same amount of time into this as they would put into a regular class, Walsh said.
The College of Business and Economics originally participated in a marketing challenge with the clothing company American Eagle. He said the presentation that the students gave to American Eagle last year was great, and they received an honorable mention award, which equaled fourth place.
When American Eagle decided to discontinue the program after last year, the goal was to find another company that would be willing to do a similar competition, Walsh said. Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe stepped up and decided to create the Taziki’s Collegiate Marketing Challenge.