Many courses offered at Anderson University are designed specifically to prepare students for entering careers after graduation. These courses often provide students with opportunities to work outside the normal classroom setting and gain experience working with actual clients. One of those standout courses is Integrated Marketing Communications II taught by Deidra Colvin, assistant professor of marketing at the Falls School of Business.
The advanced marketing communications class is not a traditional academic course. Instead of bookwork and exams, the class allows students to implement their skills and knowledge learned in previous marketing courses in a workplace setting. This course allows students to use knowledge of integrated marketing communications terminology and concepts to create tangible integrated marketing communication plans. They develop an understanding of the influence that advertising and promotional strategies and tactics have. Theory and content from other business classes are used to aid in the development of the comprehensive strategic IMC plan, including implementation, presentation, and evaluation.
“During this course, students gain hands-on experiences and insights into the field of marketing communications by working with a real-world client,” stated Colvin. “The students work to develop a SWOT analysis, creative brief, a series of six status reports to keep the client up-to-date on the plan, and ultimately a written IMC plan and presentation.” The students then pitch their plans to the client at the end of the semester.
Teams of four to five students must take on the roles of account executive, creative director, research and media manager, sales promotion manager, and public relations manager in order to collaborate and create a marketing plan applicable to their client. Over the past few semesters, students have worked with clients including the Pacers, Johnson-Witkemper Insurance Services, T2 Systems, MiddlEdge Consulting, CJ Boots Casket Company, Delta Faucet, Fishers Towing, and the Anderson University School of Adult Learning. “By being partnered with a real business, my work is valuable and worth more than just a letter grade because it will make a difference for this business,” said recent FSB graduate Ambrosia Davidson.
Students taking the course this semester have found it to be a priceless experience and preparation into the marketing industry. At the end of the semester, students will have gained a better understanding of marketing communications and more practice interacting with business professionals. “I hope the students develop the skills and confidence through this to seek gainful employment in the field of marketing communications, consumer behavior, and branding and advertising,” Colvin said.
By taking this approach, students take the work they do in this course seriously since it is applicable to more than just a class assignment. “Working for a real client has definitely been an adjustment, and it has encouraged me to become passionate about my career. I now feel more prepared for the transition from school into the job market,” said recent graduate T.J. Prince.
Through this course and the help of Colvin’s experience, knowledge, and connections in the industry, marketing students have opportunities to stretch themselves. Students have the chance to apply the concepts and skills they learned in prior semesters by working with actual clients, and get a taste of what they will experience once they leave AU.
— Katie Price is a senior from Kokomo, Ind., majoring in fine arts and minoring in communication arts. Price is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2010, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the seventh consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.