A group of Purdue University North Central students took on a spring semester project with the city of Bridgman Mich. and its Economic Growth Alliance, to address the strategic marketing needs of this community-based economic development program.
The students were enrolled in the Business Consulting course taught by Patricia Jacoby, associate professor of Marketing and Entrepreneurship. The course puts students in real-world situations so that they learn the fundamentals of solving strategic problems for their clients while honing their skills in analytical thinking, teamwork, leadership and interacting with a client.
This required students Kathy Ceperich, Michigan City; Jim Dereka, Valparaiso; Jamie Lowther, Chesterton and Amanda Pishkur, Chesterton, along with Jacoby, to make several trips to Bridgman to meet the Economic Growth Alliance board members to ask questions, gather data and learn more about the Alliance’s needs.
The students spent many hours developing a proposal that would help the Economic Growth Alliance better market Bridgman to potential visitors. The students used the themes “See” “Hear” “Taste” “Smell” and “Feel” to highlight aspects of Bridgman that included such diverse offerings as beautiful sunsets, concerts, food, golf and shopping.
“Based on the depth of insight that was provided in the study, we suspect the students conducted additional research visits in between these two meetings,” observed Beth McNeil, chair of the Bridgman-Lake Township Economic Growth Alliance. “The final presentation was outstanding.”
McNeil noted that the presentation was attended by local government and business groups and triggered a number of discussions during and after the meeting.
“This reflected a very positive view of the project’s contents and suggestions. We look forward to further and ongoing collaboration with PNC,” she continued.
Working with the Economic Growth Alliance proved to be a tremendous opportunity for the students, said Dr. Cynthia Roberts, associate professor of Organizational Leadership and chair of the Department of Business and Leadership .
“ We are grateful to be able to work with clients such as the Town of Bridgman. It provides a wonderful opportunity for our students to gain experience as they connect what they are learning in the classroom with the real world. One of the greatest strengths of programs offered through the Department of Business and Leadership is the commitment to experiential and service learning and that would not be possible without our community partners.”