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Project provides experience and a chance to make a difference


Throughout the fall semester, a class of marketing students had the opportunity to work on a project for the USDA. This project gave these students real-world experience but also benefited the Chattanooga USDA office by providing much-needed marketing efforts.

During the summer months, professors from the Goodfriend School of Business met with staff members from the Chattanooga USDA office hoping to help with marketing ideas for the Rural Development project. Due to a large area – the Chattanooga office covers a ten-county area – and limited staffing, marketing efforts usually have to be overlooked. Professor Anne Montgomery brought the project back to her integrated marketing communications class this fall and they began work on a marketing project that will actually be used in the field.

Giving TWU business students the opportunity to step out of the normal classroom environment and get a chance to apply the knowledge that they have obtained from their coursework is an important experience that Professor Montgomery is thankful she can give her students. The class quickly met with the USDA staff members to understand the services offered, identify the target audience and develop strategies to reach the audience with no marketing budget.

The students also had the opportunity to gain skills in marketing design and messaging. They developed ideas on how to improve the current marketing printed piece to make it more appealing and targeted. The entire semester’s work was compiled into a presentation, where TWU students were able to share their work with USDA representatives. Their plan and presentation was received with positive feedback and will be presented to the state director in the coming months.

TWU students were eager from the beginning of the project to get a chance to work on a real-life situation. The fact that this project would be making a difference in the communities close to campus energized all students during the semester. One student commented “I love how we got the chance to work with the USDA. I think the experience challenged us to think and put us in a real-life situation. It gave us a look inside of what it would be like if we worked as a marketing manager.”

These marketing students will now have a project that they can put in their professional portfolio for future internships or job searching. The experience was valuable for the students, but also for many of the areas they grew up in. Montgomery believes that experiences like this will be what students remember most about their time at TWU.