Bree was interviewing students and university graduates for positions with her company. After almost each question, she was met with “deer in the headlight eyes”. The applicants couldn’t answer basic questions, like how would you reach a certain population or promote an event.
Bree knew something was amiss, she expected the students to at least be able to offer some creative suggestions, even if they weren’t quite correct, and yet received silence. She figured that either her expectations were off, or there was something significantly different about education systems in Florida.
I went in to complain and came out with a job.
Bree contacted the head of the marketing department at the University of Central Florida to discuss what she was missing, and to suggest he help her shift her expectations.
Bree planned to offer to lead a Professional Development Program on interview readiness for the students.
Based on their grades and resumes, she knew they had experience and were intelligent, it was just a matter of teaching them to interview differently.
After a long conversation about Bree’s background, education, career, business and experience leading educational seminars, he suggested Bree teach a class.
Bree agreed to teach Digital Media Marketing, and began developing the syllabus. She wanted to create a class that she would have enjoyed taking. A class that was absent of heavy reading, included a lot of discussion, and real-world lessons.
Her class opens with the students developing a personal brand and setting up their own website, blog and professional social media accounts to reflect their individual brand (the latter two would be continued throughout the semester).
The rest of the course is focused on providing an unforgettable experience the students could talk about in any job interview, or use to launch their own venture and avoid seeking traditional employment.
The students work in groups to develop an online marketing plan for a real product, service or company. As they learn new techniques, they implement the tactics. Toward the end of the semester, the students interpret the analytics from their work and prepare a report on what worked and what didn’t and why, and they make suggestions to improve the marketing for their company. Then, each group presents their project to the class and a panel of professionals from the community in a Shark Tank like fashion. Throughout the semester, the students hone their public speaking and presentation skills.
Bree was nominated by her students for the Most Transformative Moment award and often receives updates from students about how her class impacted their lives.
Teaching is the highlight of Bree’s week and something she hopes to do more of in the future.