UNIBusiness student credits professor for case competition success
Damen Dixon and his team knew what to do. After all, Dixon's class had given him the exact framework to succeed.
At the Pella Marketing Case Competition on March 21, Dixon and his team, part of the Pi Sigma Epsilon student organization, presented to the company on how it can use augmented reality to sell windows to hesitant buyers. The report wasn't wide in scope, and was pretty short compared with other case competitions Dixon had been a part of, but he was prepared. That's in part thanks to UNIBusiness Associate Professor of Marketing Raj Rajendran's marketing strategy class.
"Honestly, I pulled out a report I had done a month before in class and did the exact same thing," Dixon said. "I just substituted this case and went through the same steps."
The UNI PSE team ended up winning the competition, and Dixon said Rajendran's class was crucial in giving him and his team the ability to succeed. In his class, Rajendran gives students realistic marketing cases to work through. Students create marketing plans and use their research to compose recommendations on how to proceed.
"I've done case competitions in the past, and they were just kind of confusing because there wasn't a direction that you wanted to go," Dixon said. "But drawing back to some stuff we've done in Raj's class was helpful - just going through those steps again."
Rajendran said he puts a lot of emphasis on how to deeply analyze the different cases. Having been a marketing consultant before he came to UNI to teach, Rajendran draws on that experience to teach students realistic examples of what they might face in the real world of marketing.
At the start of his class, students are put into groups. They start by creating a marketing plan with his help. Then they create one on their own. At the end of the semester, the groups present their plan to a panel of judges. That way they can get the most realistic feedback, Rajendran said.
"I kind of hold their feet to the fire," he said with a laugh.
Rajendran said he was glad to hear his teachings were rubbing off on his students.
"I can see the improvement in the students," he said. "They are used to things like this, and they have improved very well. Not everything sticks, but enough sticks to make a difference."
That was all Dixon and his team needed to find success, and Dixon understands the value a class like Rajendran's has for students.
"Dive into the stuff you’re learning in class," Dixon said. "It's obviously not going to be exactly the same as the real world, it’s not going to be laid out for you like that, but you’re going to be dealt problems in the real world and given stuff that you need to solve. So just kind of going through the steps in class, it's really helpful."