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Concordia University Chicago business students gain real-world experience, benefitting local businesses

Concordia University Chicago’s College of Business students partnered with local and Chicago area organizations to gain experience in integrated marketing communications planning, while helping the business attain marketing goals.

The course was initially introduced in 2008 by Beth Dellegrazie, assistant professor of marketing at Concordia. According to Dellegrazie the class allows students to gain exposure to real-world experience by providing an opportunity to apply theory to real situations.

“Experiential learning in the classroom is critical,” said Dellegrazie, who helps match students to the businesses that best fit their interests. “We want students to feel confident with their experience as they begin their job search.”

The organizations that the University partnered with were Bobby’s Bike Hike, a Chicago-based bike tour company; Parenthesis Family Center, a non-for-profit organization in Oak Park that provides family services; MAYLÁN Skincare that creates and distributes luxurious products specifically for sensitive skin; EyeDocApp, a mobile application created by Dr. Scott designed specifically for mobile appointment scheduling; Chiropractic Health Service, a Chicago-based chiropractic office owned by Dr. Rittling; and Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF), whose mission is to facilitate sharing of the Gospel.

Each organization relied on students’ innovative ideas to incorporate various components of marketing to help the businesses further succeed. Students focused on integrated marketing techniques including advertising, online promotions, public relations, social media and more.

“This project also provides an opportunity to help a company that may not have the time or funds to work on an integrated marketing plan,” said Dellegrazie. “This is one of the ways our University lives through our mission of leading and serving.”

The project concluded as students from each group presented to the respective clients, sharing their ideas for success and ultimately an integrated marketing communication plan to benefit each organization. Additionally, clients provided feedback and challenged students on their plans.

“It was rewarding seeing really ambitious students bring neat ideas to complete the project,” said Mark Kowalik, the founder of Bobby’s Bike Hike. “Students were learning valuable skills, while gaining great experience.”

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