Eleven Drexel students had the opportunity to work as business consultants in an experiential learning course offered by the LeBow College of Business this fall.
The class, taught by LeBow professor Dana D’Angelo and adjunct professor Andy Macaleer, is competing with 15 other colleges and universities from around the country to do the best work for the American Natural Gas Alliance. ANGA is an advocacy group that, according to its website, “promote[s] the economic, environmental and national security benefits of greater use of clean, abundant, domestic natural gas.”
EdVenture Partners is a company that matches businesses with colleges — benefiting both parties. Participating schools compete to fulfill the objectives of the client effectively, using the allocated budget to conduct market research and promote the company to their campuses and surrounding areas. D’Angelo has been working with EdVenture Partners for eight years, but the client is always different.
The class was responsible for creating a company name for themselves — they decided on “33rd and MarkIt Co.” — along with coining a slogan and designing a logo for their consulting services.
The class was split into three departments of three or four students each: research, advertising and public relations, and strategy implementation. Chris Baccash, a pre-junior engineering major, served as the coordinator between all of the departments, and Sarah Messenger, a sophomore studying business and engineering, was in charge of the $3,000 budget.
After conducting a survey of more than 400 students, the class decided on three “pillars” of natural gas on which they based the rest of their work. For the rest of the term, the class focused on educating the Drexel population about three aspects of natural gas: opportunities for natural gas in transportation, available jobs in the industry, and clean energy.
“The research indicated that the Drexel population and the community here [cared the most about] transportation, jobs and the economy, and clean energy. From that research and those pillars, the campaign was developed based around the slogan ‘Pennsylvania’s Natural Gas: Fuel Today, Sustain Tomorrow,’” D’Angelo said.
The class generally wanted to increase awareness of the benefits of natural gas, and they did so by organizing and sponsoring events throughout the term in order to reach as many students as possible with ANGA’s message. The class created a Twitter account and then hosted a competition, awarding points for retweets and for tweeting pictures of the other events.
Another of their strategic events was a table set up with information about the benefits of natural gas and giveaways at the women’s and men’s basketball home openers on Nov. 14 and Nov. 15, respectively.
Also on Nov. 15, the class brought a natural gas vehicle to the Race Street lawn to teach passers-by about the car and other uses and benefits of natural gas. More than 200 students interacted directly with the car, and thousands of students passing were reached with the overall message.
Lastly, they hosted a panel discussion Nov. 19 with two experts who discussed the potential jobs that exist for college graduates in the natural gas industry. Almost 100 students from a wide range of majors attended.
D’Angelo and Diana Fox, a sophomore business major who was a part of the marketing and public relations department for 33rd and MarkIt Co., explained that being able to work for a real client with real demands on a long-term project is a huge benefit of the course.
“I’ve never really done a project like this. From my standpoint, I definitely learned a lot about the way I work with a group. … I’ve never done anything like it,” Fox said.
The students were responsible for creating a final report, detailing all of their work over the course of the eight weeks that will be judged by representatives from EdVenture and ANGA to determine the winners of the competition. The class is making a final presentation to the judges on Dec. 3 that will also be taken into consideration.