Real World Challenges Replace Final Exams

Leadership 2.0 class ends with presentations about their CEO research and interviews.

Leadership 2.0 class ends with presentations about their CEO research and interviews.

It was a rare sight around DePaul’s Loop campus Monday as teams of well-dressed students anxiously awaited their turns to pitch PR and marketing ideas to clients from Starbucks, Fox Sports, Major League Baseball, Animal Cancer Foundation, Gagen MacDonald, Golin and Olson Engage.

I attended several of the presentations, but missed those that happened at the same time my Leadership 2.0 graduate students reported on their interviews with Chicago-area CEOs. Throughout the term, students heard from leadership experts, Crain’s editors and “Corner Office” columnist Adam Bryant at the New York Times. Students then interviewed seven prominent CEOs–Tonise Paul, CEO, Energy BBDO; Julie Howard, Chair & CEO, Navigant; James L. Madara, M.D., CEO, American Medical Association; Howard Tullman, Founder & CEO, 1871; Shari Runner, CEO, Chicago Urban League; Anne Pramaggiore, CEO, ComEd, and Matt Shattock, CEO, Beam Suntory. The CEO profiles will be published later this summer on Gagen MacDonald’s Let Go & Lead website.

Starbucks ad campaign pitch teams with their professor and client.

Starbucks ad campaign pitch teams with their professor and client.

In Eva Bongiovanni’s PRAD class, three student teams pitched ad campaign ideas to  Starbucks marketing director Meghaan Blauvelt. Assignment was to reposition Starbuck’s food as a health and wellness option with a specific focus on their new food line Mercato. After providing feedback to each group, Meghaan picked the winning team– Tess Cvikota, Lauren Palmer, Kellie Senese, Daniel Rodriguez and Emily Wallace.

Clients from Fox Sports and Major League Baseball listen to student pitches.

Clients from Fox Sports and Major League Baseball listen to student pitches.

Instructor Don Ingle had two action-packed finals yesterday, the first featuring four undergraduate teams presenting their sustainability campaign ideas to executives from Fox Sports and Major League Baseball. Impressed with what they heard, two of the Fox and MLB executives asked if the students were working full-time on their creative and well-developed campaign ideas. Separately, Don’s campaigns class presented PR program ideas for Wrigley gum and Tylenol PM to their respective agencies, Golin and Olson Engage.

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