University marketing team finalists in international competition

News Reporter
Kaitlyn Powell, Yvonne Davila and Madison Stephens, marketing seniors, pose Feb. 19 at McCoy Hall.

The Texas State American Marketing Association (AMA) has been selected as one of eight finalists to compete in the Collegiate Case Competition, an international contest in which students work on a real-life marketing campaign.

The conference will take place beginning March 19 in New Orleans. Eight teams, including Texas State, will present a marketing campaign created for a client chosen by competition officials. This year’s client is Glacéau, the company that makes Vitaminwater and Vitaminwater Zero.

The team will spend five days over spring break in New Orleans for the competition. Funding for the team comes from a grant. The team fundraises for the rest.

This is the tenth time in 11 years the team has competed and the ninth finalist-level participation, said Gail Zank, associate marketing professor and AMA adviser.

The team consists of 11 marketing students who take a class in the fall devoted to working on a case for the competition, Zank said. The students write a 40-page brief presenting research on the client and product as well as a marketing strategy.

Zank picks the five-hardest working students to present the case at the competition.

Zank attributes the team’s success to the strength of the marketing program at Texas State and the group’s previous achievements.

“Success breeds success,” Zank said. “We have always had hardworking and motivated students on our team.”

The Texas State AMA team won the national “Platinum Chapter of the Year” award in 2014.

“We have some big shoes to fill,” said Yvonne Davila, marketing senior and AMA president.

The point of participating in the competition is to put students in a unique learning environment, Zank said. Collaborating on the case gives students an idea of how real-world marketing works.

Students often take the cases they worked on for the competition to job interviews after graduating, Zank said.

“One girl who was on the winning team last year took the case with her to her interview,” Zank said. “She thinks that’s why she got her internship, which later led to a job.”

Kaitlyn Powell, marketing senior, said she took the class to get life experience.

“We recommend it to anyone who wants more than just a theory-based class,” Powell said.

Davila is on the presentation team for the competition and is both nervous and excited for March.

Zank said her goal is to get to the final round of the competition.

“Once you get to the finals, you can never be sure what exactly the client is looking for,” Zank said. “But to make it to the finals means we put together a solid case.”

A rivalry exists between Texas State and its biggest competition— the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Wisconsin is always in the finals, Davila said.

“They told us when they visited the campus that if they won, we would have to suck it up and congratulate them,” Davila said.

Davila said the hardest part of competing is time management.

“We were here two weeks after finals—locked in McCoy, working on the case brief,” Davila said.

The team agreed to put in at least 40 hours a week toward the end of the project. Powell said preparing for the competition is like a part-time job.

“The best moment was that beautiful moment when we looked at (the case) and it said ‘submit’ on the form,” Davila said.