IOWA CITY — Building Iowa communities is an annual tradition for Tippie College of Business marketing students.
In recent years, they've helped Sioux City increase the number of residents who recycle, a coalition of western Iowa governments bring attention to their outdoor recreational opportunities, and developed a strategic marketing plan for Muscatine to rebrand itself.
The efforts come from the Marketing Institute, a consulting service offered by Tippie that gives 40 marketing students opportunities to help real-life clients solve marketing challenges while gaining experience with the tools they'll need in their careers. Students learn to research and gather data, conduct surveys and focus groups, develop plans and ideas that meet client specifications, and effectively communicate their findings and proposals, along with other critical skills.
Anna McDonald, of Knoxville, an undergraduate student in the Tippie College of Business, is among the students currently working on projects.
Most engagements are with businesses in the Midwest, but they make sure to work with at least one Iowa community each year. Peggy Stover, associate professor of practice and Marketing Institute director, said the engagements provide learning opportunities for marketing majors considering careers outside of the private business sector.
"For students who want to work for a nonprofit, or a government or public agency-which is vastly different than working for a for-profit business-this gives them experience that will support their career directions," she said.
She also said it's one more way the University of Iowa can help the state solve its challenges.
"It's important to give back to the state and provide value to those we serve," she said. "So many people in these communities have told us how grateful they are for our work."
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