By Maria Holt
If you are interested in business strategy or entrepreneurship, this class is a great opportunity to apply your skills to a real company. Here are my top five reasons why this class is amazing:
Top 5 Reasons This Class Is Amazing:
1. Both Journalism and MBA students take the class.
The class is split between journalism and business students (and professors), which makes it very interesting. As a business student, I didn’t know very much about the media industry going into the project. My journalism group members didn’t know a whole lot about crafting a start-up plan – adding the two sets of knowledge together really helped us create a neat solution.
2. It’s more of an experience and less like a class.
The class actually culminates in a competition where student teams present solutions to a panel of judges during the Digital Globe Symposium in the Reynolds Journalism Institute, which by itself, makes the class unique. But the experience is so much more than that – it’s akin to spending a semester in the board room with your client, solving their problem together.
3. The professors are great mentors.
The professors set this course up as an experience that they can mentor you through rather than a class that they teach you. They go out of their way to provide tools, speakers and opportunities to explore and develop. You really get a lot out of the class if you take advantage of even just a few of the many opportunities. Each professor brings a unique background and lots of relevant industry experience. You can tell that they all really care about you as a student, too – they want to get to know the students in the class and help them in any way they can – including finding jobs, internships, and other opportunities outside of class.
4. The clients you work with are unique and inspiring.
Clients this semester include: The Associated Press who wants to reach a younger audience with their app; Nations Media (which is the largest media group in Eastern Africa) who wants to digitize the archive of their paper going back 50 years; Next Avenue – a project for Twin Cities Public Television that is focused on bringing valuable information to baby boomers as they face the next avenues in their life; Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) which wants to increase its listeners; ANDAC – which is a mid-west conglomeration of local newspapers trying to figure out how to sell their stories to other organizations; Treeple – a project centered around a responsive software that delivers highly customized news stories around health and well-being.
5. The solutions that the teams come up with have a lasting impact.
In some cases, the solutions change the direction of companies. The work you do means so much more than a grade, especially to the companies. We are helping to craft strategies, revenue models and solutions that the clients really need – that’s why they are here. The project is collaborative with the client – they help us develop the solution. In fact, most teams in the class get to travel to its client’s headquarters and have on-site meetings. Seeing the impact we have had on our client is, by-far, the biggest reason I love this class.
For more information about this year’s competition, visit http://www.rjionline.org/events/cdigsymposium
Maria Holt is an MBA student at the University of Missouri. As a Marketing Coordinator for EPIC Systems, Inc., an engineering firm in St. Louis, Missouri, she is responsible for the firm’s emerging marketing projects. She is a 2010 graduate of the Trulaske College of Business with a B.S. in Business Management.