Undergrad Fellows Compete, Showcase Design-Marketing Skills
A selection of Robert H. Smith School of Business marketing undergrads and
art design-major counterparts at the University of Maryland recently tested
their skills under the scrutiny of major-company executives.
Three five-member teams competing as "ad agencies" presented branding and
promotional strategies for a furniture rental company looking to bolster its
recent venture into the college student market.
This early December competition was the final project for students in the
Design and Innovation in Marketing Fellows capstone course, Design Applications
in Marketing and Branding.
CORT, a Berkshire Hathaway company staking claim as the world’s largest
provider of rental furniture, provided the model for the students. Taylor
Johnson, Leigh Harney, Lizzi Bollinger, Clare Jackson and April Chaires
comprised the winning team.
Adjunct professor Howard Bomstein said the judges cited the team’s
comprehensive approach to research and creative execution. “I was gratified and
pleased with the outcome,” he said. “The students, although not professionals,
exhibited the kind of thinking and performance that will serve them well in
their future pursuits”.
Judging and providing feedback to the students were Steve Swenson, senior
vice president and market manager for CBS Radio, Washington; Tom Culligan chief
officer for the Washington Times; Caitlin McCarthy, account director, Williams
Whittle Advertising; and Bob Buzzell, vice president for marketing for CORT.
Bomstein, vice president of Williams Whittle and with 30-plus years of ad
agency experience, guided the students, who in the roles of agency
professionals, researched and evaluated CORT’S market niche and created branding
materials as part of a comprehensive strategy to enhance the company’s appeal to
“The students learned firsthand from local experts in media, research and
marketing about how to compose a winning presentation and how to structure a
re-branding effort for an existing brand that better matches its current target
audience,” said Bomstein.
In this case, the students targeted undergraduates seeking furnishing options
for off-campus housing.
“This Fellows program carries a mission of teaching students up-to-date skill
sets to help them in today's marketplace,” said Mary Harms, Tyser Teaching
and Design and Innovation in Marketing Undergraduate Fellows Program Champion.
“Howard's approach to organizing the capstone course in a way that mirrors the
advertising world is very beneficial, as our business students work with design
students in a collaborative approach to solving the charge given to them by the
The two-year Fellows program - one of 13 such programs available to Smith
School undergrads - brings together marketing students with art design majors.
The students carry 3.0 or higher GPAs and are selected by faculty.
Read more about the the Design and Innovation in Marketing Fellows program.
Greg Muraski, Office of Marketing Communications