Seniors Test Real-World Markets Viainternships

by publicationarchive

ByWendy PfitzenmeierContributor

In the tough business world, having “real-life” experience isessential.

That’s why several San Diego State marketing seniors have beenputting their education to work this semester.

The students are participating in the General Motors MarketingInternship, a program through Marketing 472: Advertising andPromotion Management.

Nine students in the group have formed a marketing agency –called the SDSU Integrated Collegiate Professionals — and havedesigned a promotional campaign for their clients Marvin K. BrownAuto Center, GMC and General Motors.

Their objective is to raise awareness about these clients tocollege students on a budget of $2,500 a month. Funding has beengiven by GMC, a brand of automobiles manufactured and sold by GeneralMotors. Marvin K. Brown is a General Motors dealership and is a majorclient and sponsor of the internship program.

EdVenture Partners, who manages the program at more than 300 highschools, colleges and universities, functions as the students’liaison between the dealership and General Motors.

Shane Robinson, one of the group’s leaders, said the internshiphas been a great “hands-on” experience.

“This course is amazing, and if you’re a business student andyou’re not taking it, you’re definitely missing out,” he said.”Research, advertising and public relations for the promotional event– everything — it’s started from the ground up.”

Robinson said he has been able to put his education into practicefor the internship, which also looks good on his resume.

To promote their clients, the SDSU-ICP will hold a car show,”Drive home American, with GMC and MKB,” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. onNov. 13, in the parking lot of the KB Books bookstore. The event willalso benefit a San Diego homeless shelter with a canned food driveorganized by SDSU’s Air Force ROTC program.

However, the promotional event has had some setbacks.

The students were assigned to design an on-campus event for theirclients, but SDSU’s policy does not permit vehicles to be displayedon campus for promotional events, university spokesman Jack Beresfordsaid.

The exception to this is the Alumni Association’s annual “SeniorSend Off” in May where a car with a one-year lease is given as aprize.

Susanne Rego, head of the group’s research department, said whilethe situation was “frustrating,” it showed the students the need foradaptability in business.

“It does show the real world will not always be perfect,” shesaid. “You will need to adjust at all times when planning apromotional event.”

The agency has moved the event to the KB Books parking lot offCollege Avenue.

Following the car show, SDSU-ICP will evaluate the event’s successwith a student survey to see if awareness has been raised on campus.They will present these findings to GMC representatives, GeneralMotors and Marvin K. Brown executives. The students’ research willthen be used for their clients’ marketing efforts.

Dave Grundstrom, co-owner, vice-president and general manager ofMarvin K. Brown and a SDSU alumni, said the internship has benefitedeveryone involved.

“We have been involved with the marketing program for a number ofyears now and I really enjoy the projects because they give us newways to reach students and our target markets from a group of peoplewho aren’t ‘car people’ or ‘car marketing’ people,” he said.

Grundstrom also said the internship helps students learn how tocreate ideas and then implement them in the business world.

“Overall, I would like to see the students have fun, while gettingreal-world experience using their own ideas, not someone else’s ideasthey were forced to implement.”