Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Douglas College Marketing students partner with Better Business Bureau

From right: Jasdeep Singh, Clark Liu and Chris Raeside present their research and recommendations to the Better Business Bureau.
By Tamara Letkeman, doug Editor

Marketing students at Douglas put their research skills to the test this semester when they worked on a real-world project for the Better Business Bureau. The BBB was so chuffed with the results that they're planning to offer Marketing students mentorships, work experience and volunteer marketing gigs in the new year.

Last spring, the BBB serving Mainland British Columbia approached the Marketing Department to ask if students would be interested in doing an accredited business satisfaction survey for the BBB, an organization that offers consumers and businesses resources, including business reviews and complaint help.

They jumped at the chance.

In groups, 35 marketing students designed research plans, examined existing research, created questionnaires, conducted surveys and ran focus groups to determine how the BBB could better satisfy its accredited businesses and help businesses recognize the value of BBB accreditation.

“Part of the requirement was that students be able to translate a business problem into a research challenge,” says Gail Tibbo, Chair of the Marketing Department at Douglas. “And they got really good results. They also had to make three or four recommendations, which had to be realistic and solid, and had to be different from group to group.”

Last week, the groups presented their research and recommendations to representatives from the BBB, including Mark Fernandes, Media and Communications Specialist. Mark says the recommendations will help the BBB communicate better with its accredited businesses.

“These students displayed professionalism throughout the project, and the end result is that their research points toward helping us better serve our accredited businesses," Mark says. "Their research provided us both with an opportunity to learn, and we look forward to continue building on this relationship with the opportunity to take part in BBB’s volunteer and mentorship program.”

One presenter, Jasdeep Singh, an international student from India getting his Post-Degree Diploma in Marketing, says the experience has given him the type of hands-on experience he needs to succeed in business.

"The Canadian educational system is really different from the Indian system," Jasdeep says. "In India we don't do practical things like presentations and assignments; we only have written exams. So the practical things I'm learning here are really helping me improve my abilities. I can go back to my country and apply all these things to marketing and maybe become a successful entrepreneur."

Alysha Campbell, a third-year Marketing student, says doing the presentation for the BBB helped her overcome her fear of speaking to an audience.

"When I first started school I couldn't get up in front of people and talk," Alysha says. "My face would go beet-red and I would forget everything. Now I have a general understanding of what marketing is and how to do it - and how to actually perform it."

Check out the pics of the event on Flickr!