Members of the St. Ambrose Marketing Club enjoyed an experience sure to make Fighting Bees football players jealous when they stood inside the Chicago Bears locker room at Soldier Field earlier this year.
A meeting with the National Football League team's marketing leaders at the stadium on the lakefront was part of a daylong tour of select Chicago businesses for members of the first-year SAU club. The group also spent time with marketing professionals at Nielsen Media Research, Inc., and Red Frog Events.
"The Chicago trip was a fantastic opportunity for our students to gain insights on professional athletics, marketing research, and event planning that is conducted for national and international organizations," said John Byrne, PhD, chairman of the St. Ambrose marketing studies department.
The marketing club formed last April as means of supplementing the lessons the more than 130 SAU students who either major or minor in marketing can learn in a classroom.
"We started with a fairly simple goal: to create a network of business students within the university," said club president and co-founder Brendan Besetzny, a junior. "The purpose of this was to enable better connections with those with whom we shared a classroom every day."
The Chicago trip afforded students an opportunity to learn from real-world marketers and researchers, and, during their visit to Nielsen, from a fellow Ambrosian. Jeff Filipski '12 gave a presentation to club members at the world famous marketing research firm.
"I think it's fantastic that everyone in the Saint Ambrose Marketing Club has taken the initiative to become engaged, not only in their prospective field, but also in their education," Filipski said. "It's a reflection of the outstanding character that the students are developing in the marketing program at Saint Ambrose and makes me proud to be an alum."
Last fall, the marketing club participated in an ad agency crawl in Des Moines, Iowa, sponsored by the American Marketing Association. In Des Moines, the SAU group also competed in a marketing challenge put on by Spindustry Digital.
Also this year, club members heard from guest speakers from local companies like Northwestern Mutual and Deere and Co., and came together to develop a full year's marketing plan for DonateLife America as part of a collegiate competition.
On April 20, the club will host a marketing competition and networking event involving universities from across the region. It will be sponsored by the Quad City River Bandits and Northwestern Mutual, among others.
Beyond this first year, Besetzny wants to see the club continue to grow and hopes there is another excursion like the one to Chicago in the organization's immediate future.
"My hope is to give our business students a competitive edge when it comes to landing their first job," he said. "I believe we are giving members of the marketing club experience and knowledge they can't get in the classroom."