Going Digital

It is typical for College of Business courses to feature a lot of group work, which centers around projects and sometimes team exams. These are part and parcel of most business programs nationwide, preparing students for the inevitable demands of collaboration in the corporate world.

But when your professor pushes you outside the classroom into the realm of national competitions, that takes teamwork to a new level. Such is the case with Mary Liz Brooks, Associate Professor of Digital Business and Communication & Barbara Petty Professor of Business Communication, and her Emerging Media course. The course is offered as MKT4343 to undergrads, and MKT5343 to graduate students. Two graduate students–Mehrdad Samimi and Kyndall Hill–worked as a team and represented the COB in the Digital Marketing Competition among numerous universities. The duo placed fourth out of thousands of participants.

“The competition is just digital marketing, and not integrated marketing,” Brooks said. While both digital and traditional marketing co-exist in business today, the tide has shifted such that digital is the majority. “There’s a budget, there’s a timeline, and there’s a client with real objectives,” she went on, explaining the scenario within which student competitors found themselves. 

Kyndall Hill and Mehrdad Samimi

This is the second time that Brooks has included this competition in the course. Last year the team placed 20th out of 271. The client this year was LuvSeats.com, an online ticket broker who was suffering from overall brand awareness. “The students did everything from start to finish for building a campaign,” she added. “This started with research, and continued to developing the Big Idea. They had a budget of $250,000 for a year-long campaign.” Students were limited exclusively to digital tactics.

There were eight teams in the class, but Samimi and Hill were the only two graduate students in the course. “They had eight minutes to present the campaign via recorded video. The judges watched all the videos from participating schools, rated them, and then ranked them. Mehrdad and Kyndall took fourth place among graduate students,” she beamed.

Noting that there were some heavy hitters in the competition, like Arizona State and the University of Oklahoma, Brooks was proud to note that “WT is playing in the same sandbox as R1 schools that have a lot more money than us.”

That alone is reason to be proud, both for Samimi and Hill, as well as Brooks and the entire COB.