James Caum ’14 – This past week was Memorial Day week, so we had a paid day off on Monday. This gave a lot of guys, myself included, time to go home and visit their families. This also meant that the next steps in the assignments had less time during the week to get done. The groups wrote the environment and industry analysis section of their business plans.
The main topic for the week was marketing. Mr. Morin, our instructor, titled the day’s sections as marketing 101, 102, and 103. We spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday discussing marketing and reading Harvard Business School cases on Land Rover, IKEA, and several others. We focused on how these companies used marketing and what strategies were effective. We debated the various options the companies had to choose from, and then decided whether we believed their choice to be correct, or whether we would have recommended a different option.
On Friday we had two guest speakers Rob Shook, ’84, IBM Chief Strategist Industry Solution and Bill Kirst, IBM Senior Managing Social Business Consultant. Rob is Bill’s mentor at IBM. Rob shared his decades of experience and Bill shared his own experiences. Both had been part of an IBM program to take IBM professionals overseas to a developing country and help them with various problems. Both men greatly enjoyed e experience and talked about how competitive the application process was, and how rewarding the experience was overall.
Bill felt a part of the Wabash community, even without being an alumnus. He gave a Chapel talk on campus before and is very great full to have had the opportunity to do so. He is very supportive of the school and was eager to return with Rob to talk to the Business Immersion Program and share stories and advice.
On Friday afternoon we were given a choice between working with our groups until 5, or going to the various colloquiums that were held on campus. I attended the session on the new marketing campaign that the college was starting. The talk covered the new technologies for targeting markets which had successful students, who were likely to be interested in Wabash, and who had a financial situation to make Wabash an option. The new “Seriously” marketing campaign seemed like a great new direction. It focuses on being bold and telling students that a Wabash man is not typical. The new material is unapologetic about being an all male institution and focuses on the difficulty of the education, but also the rewards that a great education has. The idea of marketing a serious side to 17 or 18 year old guys may seem crazy, but I think that this is a very good marketing program and as a current student, I am happy about the message that the material is sending about Wabash.