Before class one fateful morning, communications student Patrick Medeo began his daily routine by checking his email. His eyes widened as he read an invitation to participate in a PR/Marketing Case Competition, sponsored by LeBow College of Business and the College of Arts and Sciences. As he leaned to the person on his right to share his excitement, she was serendipitously leaning in his direction. Medeo, and his classmate, Anh Ly, were about to ask each other to form a team and enter the competition. “We both agreed it would be interesting, informative and exciting to compete,” Medeo said. Shortly thereafter Mai-Linh Bui, a BS/MS communications and PR junior, joined the team. Over meetings and yoga stretches, the trio put together a strong case to beat out their competition which examined Netflix and its public relations flop with Qwikster, the company’s short-lived DVD-by-mail-order business.
“I learned the importance of putting ourselves in other people’s positions after we tried role playing and reading the case together out loud,” said Ly, a senior a marketing and economics major. “This allowed our team to understand the varied points of view of different stakeholders presented in the case.”
Bui added, “The competition gave me a true sense of how things work in the actual world. Moreover, it motivates me to learn more and gain more knowledge, academically and beyond.”
Seventeen students and five teams competed in the inaugural PR/Marketing Case Competition which was held May 10. An interesting aspect of the competition was the opportunity for students to work with people outside their respective colleges. The competition rules stipulate that at least one communication and one business student had to be on every team. The teams presented their ideas to the judging panel which included Trina Andras, Ph.D., head of LeBow’s marketing department; Marc Brownstein, president and CEO of the Brownstein Group, Daniel Korschun, Ph.D., assistant professor of marketing at LeBow; Mark Eyerly, executive director of communications at LeBow; and Alexander Nikolaev, associate professor of culture and communication in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Following the 15 minute-long presentations, the judges posed questions to the teams, dissecting their strategies while critiquing their presentations. All participants agreed that the Q&A was the most challenging aspect of the competition.
Brownstein, who offered the award of an interview for a potential co-op placement at his firm for all members of the winning team, offered advice to the competitors following the event. He encouraged participants to hone their presentation skills, saying that often “it’s the best presenter who wins a job, not always the best idea.” He also underscored the importance of having the “courage of your convictions” and noted that the winning team possessed that courage when questioned about their strategy.
Medeo explained his team’s success this way: “I learned, more than I have in any other team setting, some very important aspects of team dynamics. I could see where our different skills met to create a well-organized presentation. I have not seen that in any class that I have been in at Drexel. We all had the drive to win and were all genuinely interested in the context of the case. Which is why I think it was such a good learning opportunity.”