Opportunity is everywhere for students to make their mark on campus, but it isn’t every day they have the chance to help shape the direction of university-wide initiatives as inside collaborators. Thanks to capstone courses like ADV 486: Integrated Campaigns, advertising students are given that opportunity. This summer, two advertising classes led by Advertising and Public Relations Professor Dave Regan competed to have their brand strategy ideas accepted by the MSU Learning Hub, an innovative space and professional community for education, creativity and technology.
A Lesson in Client Relations
The summer’s capstone teams were tasked with creating and proposing tactics for marketing a co-curricular record (CCR) initiative, which launches fall 2018. A student’s CCR documents and acknowledges non-credit based activities. It compliments their academic transcript by validating educational experiences outside of a formal classroom, such as participation in student-run organizations, internships or volunteer positions.
Capstone students were provided with a “wishlist” from the Hub detailing marketing history and the desired direction for the CCR marketing campaign. Guided by Regan, students formed teams then researched, strategized and created brand campaigns to market the launch of the CCR. In the final phase, teams pitched their formal proposals to members of the Hub.
“Students get the experience of working and presenting and dealing with real human beings,” said Regan. “It’s pretty pressure-filled, but I think they did a great job. I think that the Hub and all those folks affiliated got thousands of dollars worth of ideas, from logos to names of programs.”
Of course, the purpose of the capstone isn't just about pitching a great end product. Another important aspect is learning how to grow as a person—how to be a teammate, accept critique and adapt when the work gets tough.
“There’s nothing better than when you bring in people to kind of grill the students, so to speak,” said Regan. “I like having [the students] compete against each other in class, and that does something too in its own small way. A little competition is always good for the human spirit as long as it’s healthy and we’re all collaborating together.”
Rising to the Occasion
For recent graduate and Advertising Management major Marco Schimizzi, Regan’s capstone course was the last class of his collegiate career, and one of his favorites. Schimizzi’s team presented a branding strategy for the CCR that they dubbed MSU Pathways. The team conducted research through undergraduate and faculty surveys and interviews to support their marketing plan and present data to the MSU Hub.
“I helped orchestrate a lot — I presented, and that was a pretty big responsibility,” said Schimizzi. “It was real life. We were doing it for a client, and it was way better than all the other classes [I’ve taken]. It taught me the process and what real preparation is. Regan holds everyone to a super high standard and when you hold people to a high standard you just rise to the occasion.”
Schimizzi is currently a student employee for the MSU University Advancement office where he assists in marketing efforts. Before undergoing his capstone, Schimizzi wasn’t sold on the idea of going to work for an advertising agency after graduation, but is now considering agency work after discovering an interest through the course.
Laura Fabrega, who also graduated in 2018 with a degree in advertising, participated as one of the leaders of an opposing marketing team, which branded their marketing strategy as MSU Boost. Originally from Panama City, Fabrega came to MSU her sophomore year of college after starting her higher education as an international student in Chicago. This summer, she was determined to use the advertising capstone competition as an opportunity to put the lessons she’s learned during her courses and internships to the test.
“My personal role starting this project was organizing and creating deadlines in order for us to know what we wanted to do each and every day,” said Fabrega. “ I did a lot of managing and administrative parts that we wanted to accomplish in order for us to be successful at the end.”
When courses like ADV 486 are paired with creative ingenuity and dedicated students, there’s incredible potential for professional growth and positive life experience.
“[The experience of the course] would be crucial for any professional career,” Fabrega said. “This was a good test to make sure you know what you want to do in your career and your professional life, or in any future endeavors, by being able to actually bring you a hands-on experience at MSU, which I think was awesome.”
By Kristina Pierson