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Art Museum Calls On UC MBA Students
For New Ideas In Marketing

Date: May 22, 2002
By: Carey Hoffman
Phone: (513) 556-1825
Archive: General News

Calling it a work of art may be too strong, but nonetheless, a creation by a group of UC students is held in great value by officials at the Cincinnati Art Museum (CAM).

Student teams from Assistant Professor Andrea Dixon's MBA Marketing Management classes designed a marketing plan during winter quarter for the Art Museum's huge new Cincinnati wing, expected to open next year. The work so impressed CAM officials that they invited the students to the museum for a special reception hosted by the museum director, Timothy Rub, on May 8.

Chris Casazza and Kelly Hebblethwaite look at a ewer from 12th century Iran

"I have a bias in favor of students," Rub said. "More to the point, I know how valuable hands-on experience is. It's not just a supplement to education - it provides a dimension the classroom simply can't."

"Partnering with UC was great. It felt like having 50 assistants, all with great energy, bright minds and great ideas," added Jackie Reau, CAM's director of marketing and public relations.

The new wing will deal with works that have a tie to Cincinnati. The class was given a wealth of information about the exhibit, including a virtual tour of the new wing in a visit to the Art Museum's multimedia room.

Two classes comprising 50 students were organized into 10 teams, with each given a budget and a specific target audience for which to design their part of the campaign - national cultural tourists, regional cultural tourists, general Art Museum patrons and school kids in the 4th-to-6th grade range.

"We were surprised when we first heard about our project," said Chris Somers, one of a group of students in the class from the joint Arts Administration/MBA degree program offered in cooperation with the College-Conservatory of Music. "When we found out that our segment of the market was to be the national groups, we knew it would be a bit of a challenge."

"We were being asked to market a concept, not a product. It wasn't anything that was tangible," said Chris Casazza, another student from the joint degree program. "You have to work 10 times harder, particularly when your targets are national tourists."

The client came away impressed with the students' effort.

"Each plan was very targeted, and the research they generated was so thorough that we'll use it for years to come," said Reau. "There are some great ideas there we've already extracted, and we'll be using them in January (when the marketing campaign is rolled out)."

"As important as anything, this brought us in contact with a great group of students and a natural partner in the university," Rub said. "I hope this opens a path long-term for more involvement, things like internships."

That may happen sooner rather than later, as Reau and Dixon are already in discussions about future opportunities at CAM for experiential student learning projects.

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