Commerce student Casey Donnelly has a new appreciation for the world of marketing thanks to Prof. Lindsay McShane’s third-year Digital Marketing BUSI 3204 course.

Prof. Lindsay McShane

Prof. Lindsay McShane

McShane’s course includes an experiential learning component that brings local organizations and business students together. Working in groups of four or five, students collaborate with a community partner to build a digital marketing solution to address their business challenge.

“I see this project as a win-win,” said McShane, who has been teaching the course since 2014. “Students gain experience and build their portfolios, and community partners get real value added from the students’ work.”

In the Winter term, Donnelly’s group partnered with the Gloucester Dragons Soccer Club to develop a marketing strategy to help increase membership.

“Working with a real organization was a really cool experience,” said Donnelly. “As commerce students, we are used to choosing real organizations to focus our projects on, but this was one of the first times that we actually met the community partner and worked alongside them.”

In January, Donnelly’s group met with Adrian Movileanu, who sits on the Gloucester Dragons Board of Directors, to discuss a realistic scope based on the organization’s digital marketing needs. Based on this proposal, the group developed a digital marketing campaign that they delivered through a written report and presentation.

Donnelly said one of the term’s highlights was attending a board meeting to discuss the group’s recommendations. “The board meeting made me realize that we were being viewed as credible marketing experts,” she said, adding that the project helped her see that a career in marketing was within her grasp.

“It built my confidence because it made me feel like I could contribute in a meaningful way and that I could have a successful career in marketing after graduating.”

The experiential learning project has proven to be a successful way to take students’ learning to the next level.

“It’s more than learning about marketing,” said McShane. “It’s learning about business interactions, project management, professionalism, how to present to a board of directors, and managing curveballs throughout the project.”

“Sometimes students don’t think they have a lot of value to add, and it is so rewarding to see them start to realize they have a lot to bring to the table and that their insights are really valued.”