Forty-three business school students learned the true meaning of real-world experience over the past 13 weeks, as they conducted marketing for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
Two sections of BADM 120 received a budget of $2,500 to bolster the image of the government group that is involved with performing post-Sept. 11 intelligence work to counter terrorism. Groups specializing in research, advertising, Web site development and campaign presentation submitted marketing proposals to the agency for approval, and the final product will be presented to senior-level NGA representatives over the coming weeks.
“They threw us all into this,” said sophomore Lauren Rurak, head of public relations for the project. “We went into this very blindly. I didn’t even know what PR was.”
Rurak was among many students who were forced to initiate their own research into marketing strategies and create tangible results. She worked with six team members to produce a media kit filled with brochures and DVDs promoting the NGA.
“A lot of media kits that go out in the real world are boring,” Rurak said. “We had to make something exciting that no one cares about.”
Sophomore Katie Mussolino, who served as agency coordinator, monitored the progress of each group to make sure they were on task.
“I got hands-on experience in all of the departments,” Mussolino said. “It was very eye-opening.”
Mussolino was involved in making sure all aspects of the project were approved by the NGA. Due to the high level of confidentiality surrounding the agency, EdVenture Partners, a California marketing company, served as a liaison between GW students and the NGA.
As part of the project, team members also sponsored “Mapping Your Future,” an event held last week to recruit potential interns and employees for intelligence careers within the government group.
The career fair featured a scavenger hunt around the city and trivia games that awarded winners with raffle tickets to win an iPOD Shuffle and Xbox game system.
Even as the end of the semester approaches, class members are still putting the finishing touches on their projects for a final presentation to the NGA. Rurak said that she has gained invaluable experience, and her work has even impressed several internship coordinators.
“They were totally blown away by my experience,” Rurak said.
In addition to providing students with skills, the hands-on environment allowed some of them to narrow down potential career paths.
“I realized that this is something I really like to do,” Rurak said. “This is where I belong.”