Students in the Paul Dickinson College of Business at OBU have the opportunity to gain real-world marketing experience while serving clients in the community. The micro internship for marketing majors program piloted during the spring 2020 semester and provides free marketing assistance to local businesses. The program was highly successful, for the businesses and students alike, and is underway once again for the fall semester.
The program was started by Dr. Daryl Green, Dickinson Chair of Business and associate professor of business. Students provided business consulting for a diverse clientele, including non-profits and new start-ups. Students worked remotely with an organization over six to 10 weeks, giving students practical work experience.
The micro internship program gave business students meaningful work experience through business mentorship with professionals, connection with OBU alumni, embedded professional certifications, infusion of technology and innovation, an internship embedded within the classroom and partnership with business and industry.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic last semester, Green’s students were able to excel in their micro internships. Some of the clients included Dr. George Taylor in Tulsa, Oklahoma; the Oklahoma Black Entrepreneurs, based in Oklahoma City; the Fullers on Mission in Dallas, Texas; Safe Events for Families in Shawnee; The Healthy Hive, also in Shawnee; The Uncanny Comic Expo of Shawnee; and Neighboring 101, also local to Shawnee.
Students Jarrett Ellis and Dishon Lowery worked with the Oklahoma Black Entrepreneurs from February to May 2020. The goal of OBE is to catapult ambititious African Americans into the business of entrepreneurship. OBE was promoting their monthly network-shops through social media and other digital platforms, but had a low social media presence. Ellis and Lowery helped them determine the cause and develop an improvement strategy.
The students learned about monitoring social media platforms, understanding the analytics that represent the performance of ads and posts, and understanding of one’s target audience. Ellis and Lowery also helped with the selection of a new website design. The experience was mutually beneficial to Ellis, Lowery and OBE. Overall, OBE learned how to increase brand awareness and attract new members.
Students Olivianna Calmes, Sean English and Morgan Randol teamed up to serve their client, Safe Events for Families. The goal of SEFF is to provide safe and fun events for families in Shawnee. Their objective was to help SEFF expand their circle and appeal to communities farther away, including Oklahoma City. SEFF hosts different events throughout the year, their most famous being the Boo on Bell and the Christmas Parade. The students created an Instagram account for SEFF, revamped their Facebook page and also explored future possibilities for when they start to have physical events again. After improving their social media presence, Calmes, English and Randol provided the client with recommended guideline for posting and tips for content and event creation for the future.
Students Julianna Horner, Alex Annis and Emily Reynolds teamed up to serve their client, The Uncanny Comic Expo. The goal of the Uncanny Comic Expo is to host a one-day event once a year to celebrate the popular arts. It is a place where comic books, movies, TV shows and other intercultural media exist. They wanted to increase ticket sales by establishing a greater social media audience and hanging flyers around Shawnee. As a result of their efforts, there was a 50% growth in ticket sales from 2019 event ticket sales, and the event’s online social media score increased by 12%.
The students gained valuable experience in event coordinating and social media marketing, organization, strategic planning and real data analysis, while also helping build skills in networking, graphic design and adaptability. They walked away from the internship with real-life experience in the workplace and a strong grasp on marketing events and managing social media.
Business partners for this semester include Neighboring 101, Inc.; Central Oklahoma Community Action Agency; People Strategy Advisors; Georg Fischer Central Plastics; Clinton Wealth; Government Relations and Strategic Initiatives; OCAST; Community Renewal of Pottawatomie County; Legacy Parenting Center; the Heart of Oklahoma Expo; and Astro Panda Studio.