North Central College students make semifinals in American Marketing Association contest

Feb 18, 2016

A team of 22 students in North Central College’s American Marketing Association (AMA) chapter made the top 16 as semifinalists in the AMA International Collegiate Case Competition. Students created an integrated marketing campaign for Hershey’s new Ice Breakers Cool Blasts Chews, competing against some 90 institutions, including schools like the University of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania State University and University of Iowa.

“It is a very rewarding experience for students,” said Donnavieve Smith, associate professor of marketing and AMA faculty advisor. “They have the opportunity to integrate core concepts and theories they’ve garnered from a wide range of courses. It’s truly a hands-on opportunity.”

The Collegiate Chapters Council of AMA runs an annual International Collegiate Case Competition that’s open to undergraduate teams at schools with an AMA chapter. The competition challenges students to work on a marketing case submitted by a sponsoring organization. This year’s sponsor, The Hershey Company, provided a detailed marketing problem and solicited solutions from AMA’s best students as part of the contest.

North Central’s AMA team started the Hershey’s campaign at the start of fall term and submitted final work mid-December. Students participated in the competition as part of their BUS390 coursework. They used class time and gained credit to prepare their case, working into D-Term in order to polish their submission for the deadline.

“Throughout the term, students honed their marketing research and analytical skills,” said Smith. “They developed their creative abilities, too, and created a commercial, print ad, Internet ads, guerrilla marketing tactics and other promotional pieces.”

“This competition takes a lot of work and tests a lot of your capabilities in marketing,” said Alexandria Nichols ’16, lead for AMA’s positioning and strategy team. “But I think it offers the opportunity to put everything you’ve learned in your classes to work. Like most things at North Central, you get the chance to apply what you’re learning and be better prepared for the real world.”

One of the biggest challenges they faced was developing their campaign’s tagline—it’s the glue that holds everything together. But with focus, hard work and teamwork, North Central team members found their opportunity to “run with the big dogs,” as Nichols called it, and reached the semifinals.

“This puts North Central College on the map,” said Anthony Szymanek ’16, lead for AMA’s distribution/sales team. “We are a small school, so finishing in a top spot compared to so many great schools feels accomplishing. It shows how impressive North Central students are and how our marketing department does a great job of giving us the knowledge we need to succeed.”

Jazmin Enriquez ’16, lead for AMA’s marketing research team, said, “We not only represented the marketing department, but we represented an entire institution that takes pride in the type of education and the real-world experiences we receive. All that was reflected in this competition and I believe next year we can do even better.”

North Central students who participated in the AMA competition are Alexandria Nichols ’16, Anthony Szymanek ’16, Allison Kopicki ’17, Claire Henneberry ’17, Devan Conness ’16, Emily Kasper ’16, Gina Fisher ’16, Jazmin Enriquez ’16, Jacob Perry ’17, Kaitlyn Beggs ’16, Katelyn Newcomer ’16, Kathleen Cotter ’17, Ksenia Avrakhova ’16, Matthew Jacobsen ’16, Miranda Milne ’16, Madison Maas ’17, Nicole Seiton ’17, Rebecca James ’16, Rebecca Sneddon 16, Samantha Gambuzza ’17, Samantha Attebery ’17 and Amanda Zahorak ’19.

By Stephanie Snyder ’15/M ’17