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One-Year MBA Students Gain Practical Experience Working with Local Business

Tuesday, February 26 2019 11:45am

OHIO One-Year MBA students partnered with Snowville Creamery to gain valuable marketing experience.

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By Quintin Lash

As Professor Tom Marchese was preparing to begin his first semester teaching the One-Year MBA marketing course in Fall 2018, an interesting opportunity presented itself. Snowville Creamery, located just outside of Athens in Pomeroy, reached out to the College of Business looking for help, and for Marchese, a partnership with a live client was a no-brainer.

“The majority of my teaching is practical,” said Marchese. “A partnership like this means we can apply textbook material to practical experience. In return, Snowville will be able to apply our findings to their business processes.”

After meeting with Snowville representatives to kick off the semester, the class got to work. For the next twelve weeks of the semester, they worked in small teams to conduct market research, provide feedback on targeting, positioning, and segmentation, and even explore product expansion, revitalized branding, and overall company strategy. The class also held focus groups on campus to gather consumer insight and polish their recommendations. After each group shared their respective findings, the entire class collaborated to create a unified strategy, drawing from each of the ten groups.

Finally, after months of research, brainstorming, discussion, and presentations, the class invited the Snowville Creamery team back to campus to share their findings. Representatives from each team shared industry insight, financial analysis, and strategic recommendations during a several-hour presentation. What began as a class project ended up serving as a transformative experience for all parties involved.

Following the presentation, Snowville immediately implemented several of the recommendations the class presented.

“We came into this project to see what kind of feedback we could get, and I feel like we got thousands of dollars of feedback from this class,” said Heather Fuston, Snowville’s marketing director. “I was completely blown away - so many great ideas and I can't wait to see how we can use it at Snowville."

Snowville Creamery wasn’t the only beneficiary of the project. For the MBA students, the experience was just as valuable.

“Going into this class, I didn’t expect to get real-life marketing experience,” said Johnny Galvin. “Learning from a textbook is fine, but the opportunity to work with Snowville in this environment couldn’t be replicated.”

When Snowville Creamery approached Professor Marchese, he had already been presented with other opportunities to offer his students practical experience. However, the chance to partner with the Pomeroy-based company was too impactful to pass up.

“This was a local company and the one we could help the most,” he said. “I knew the students could help totally change the projection of this company.”

In the end, the partnership provided valuable insight to a local company and invaluable experience to Ohio University’s MBA students.

Learn more about the MBA program.