For Tara Williams, business instructor with Medicine Hat College (MHC) inviting local professionals into her classroom is nothing out of the ordinary. She believes strongly in providing real-world experience to her students while doing what she can to help solve the needs of the community.
“I believe in the power of experiential learning and the benefits that come from providing our students with projects that have a real impact. The stakes are higher because they aren’t just doing a mock marketing campaign, they are helping local businesses solve a real-life issue.”
This is one of the reasons she recently challenged students in her marketing persuasion class to create marketing campaigns for the Medicine Hat Public Library and Kinsmen Club Home Lotto.
“These are two organizations that give so much to our community, so it is nice to give back to them, while developing our students’ skills in dealing with clients, creating a campaign and communicating their ideas effectively.”
Students were divided into teams, and asked to pick the organization of their choice. They created three advertisements and a video for their clients and then presented to a panel of judges comprised of local business owners, college staff and representatives from the participating organizations. At the end of the class, two teams were awarded judges’ choice.
April Plante, fourth year business student explains that not only was she surprised at how much confidence the business owners had in them, but also that her team was chosen for first place by the library.
“They don’t treat you as just a student. They don’t put the just in there, they want to know what you think and what you would do. They said they would consider implementing a lot of our suggestions, and that was such a proud moment for us. I was shocked that they picked us, as there were so many great ideas, but everyone worked hard in our group, so it is a pleasant surprise.”
(Image, Left to Right) Keith Walker, Head of Fiction Services and Gillian Reimer, Head of Marketing with Medicine Hat Public Library. Business Students: April Plante, Evelyn Schottner, Qian Zhang
(Image, Left to Right) Business students: Andrèa Hamilton, Logan Blott, Beth Lewis, Xiaobo Du. Medicine Hat Kinsmen Club representatives: Steven Pudwell, Chris Baba and Chris Hellman
Plante mentions that it is because of projects like this that she is now considering changing her focus from human resources to entrepreneurship.
“When you actually meet people in Medicine Hat – business owners that are living their dream – It makes entrepreneurship more realistic. And you realize that you can do it too. Having the freedom to create something myself and be my own boss is something I am now interested in.”
Williams mentions that she is proud of all of her students who worked hard, and put a real effort in helping out these local businesses.
If you are interested in learning more about the student initiatives happening on campus, or about business programs visit www.mhc.ab.ca.
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