Marisa OlsonContact Email:
When pharmaceutical and healthcare business students take their education from the classroom to the boardroom, anything can happen. They can raise awareness of AIDS in center city, teach nutrition education to children, or even help a non-profit raise more than $10,000, as a group of aspiring professionals did recently.
While most University of the Sciences students spend an impressive amount of time listening to lectures, reading textbooks, and cramming for tests, pharmaceutical and healthcare business students are preparing for fast-paced careers by getting real-word experience beyond the classroom.
Each semester, Professors Melanie Oates, PhD, and Alice Levy, MBA, task the students in their Consumer Behavior and Product Management courses to create and implement a complete marketing plan for a client. Hypothetical clients need not apply. The professors partner each student group with an existing company or organization where they engage professionals, provide guidance, negotiate feedback, and gain invaluable real-world experience.
“Through their work with organizations, my students learn to apply the concepts from class – target market analysis, survey research, communications strategies, and more,” said Dr. Oates. “We focus on working with community agencies, on internal University needs, and projects that are in-line with course content.”
Over the years, pharmaceutical and healthcare business students have helped advance the marketing goals of the Southwest Community Enrichment Center, the Maternity Care Coalition, the Senior Adult Activities Center of Montgomery County, Abington Memorial Hospital, JEVS Human Services, and many others. In fall 2009, they partnered with the University’s Student Health and Counseling to promote the H1N1 vaccine on campus.
In Dr. Oates’ fall semester course, Maria Tatarsky PhHB’11 led a group of dog lovers who chose to work with Mid-Atlantic Border Collie Rescue. The non-profit rescue organization was facing an abundance of volunteers, but a shortage of funds. The group researched, planned, and launched a wildly successfully marketing campaign to increase donations, but Tatarsky says the rewards went far beyond the dollar amount.
“It was extremely rewarding to help out such a compassionate organization,” said Tatarsky. “Our appeal has helped them raise more than $10,000 from donors and along the way, we learned so much about different aspects of marketing, business, and advertising, and we had to overcome real-life problems and encountered many setbacks. Nevertheless, through these obstacles we learned the most. Being involved with an organization first-hand taught us all more than any textbook ever could!”
The student consulting projects in the pharmaceutical and healthcare business program continue to provide students the opportunity to gain the kind of experience that employers value above all others, while the organizations and companies they support receive creative marketing guidance.
This semester, look for Dr. Oates’ students in the hallways of Samson College of Health Sciences where they’re currently helping the newly-named college develop a fresh recruitment video and program.