Marketing dept. offers experience

By Beth Oltmanns

Students always are being told they need “real world experience.” NIU’s marketing department says it provides that experience.

Carol DeMoranville, an associate professor in the marketing department, teaches a marketing research class that uses real companies and organizations. She’s been teaching the course for seven years and usually teaches two sections each semester.

“I truly believe that students learn best when they are doing things,” she said.

The companies used in the class cover a broad range, DeMoranville said. They can be for profit, non-profit, small, large, local or national.

DeMoranville said companies are chosen in several different ways. Some companies have worked with the class previously and want additional research, some call the marketing department looking for help with research, others hear about the class by word-of-mouth and some companies are found through contacts with business people.

There are five students in each group for a total of 10 projects, DeMoranville said.

Senior marketing major Patrick Coennen is working on a patient satisfaction survey this semester for DuPage Surgical Consultants.

“The course gives you a chance to apply the skills you learn in the book to a real-world situation,” he said.

The class can be a lot of work, Coennen said.

“It makes you appreciate surveys much more now that you know what goes into them,” he said.

The class also works with several organizations on campus, DeMoranville said.

One project students are working on this semester is student Internet preferences for the Health Enhancement Services Web site.

“We’ve used students in the past and have had good experiences,” said Steven Lux, acting co-coordinator of Health Enhancement Services.

Using the class helps to give Health Enhancement Services a different perspective from their own research, Lux said.

The class also is working on a project for the residence halls, a first time customer.

Michael Stang, manager of residential administration, called the marketing department with a research need and was referred to DeMoranville.

“I was looking for some students to be involved,” he said.

The research project is a study of why students are living in academic residential programs, what they are getting out of it and if the experience is meeting their expectations, Stang said.

Stang met with the students working on the project at the beginning of the semester and told them the information he was hoping to get. He also has met off and on with the students throughout the semester and has helped them with contacts.

“They’ve started from scratch and done the whole thing,” he said.

For the final project, students prepare a written and formal presentation given during the last week of classes, DeMoranville said. The presentation is given to the client.

“When students make their presentations, nine out of 10 times [the clients] are blown away,” she said.

The class is a win-win situation for the students’ resumes and for the businesses who get help with research, DeMoranville said.

“I’m tremendously proud of what my students do,” she said.