By: Kim Saxton, clinical associate professor of marketing
The Kelley School of Business on the IUPUI campus is expanding its experiential learning opportunities for students with the inaugural Marketing Enterprise.
Students can now gain an immersive learning experience in modern marketing, much like they already do in entrepreneurship with DIVE, supply chain with gSCIE and finance with FIND.
The first part of the process is getting out of the classroom and into community to learn about the different types of firms involved in marketing.
In the X522 Enterprise Lecture Series, Evening MBA students are exposed various career paths in a functional specialty.
For the Marketing Enterprise, these “lectures” are taking place at local businesses. The first session focused on the role of marketing services firms and ad agencies. We headed over to the nimblejack headquarters in downtown Indy. The two-story office on Washington Street across from Circle Center Mall highlights the collaborative and creative spaces that abound in Indianapolis today.
Nimblejack was started by Evening MBA alumni Christopher “Topher” Overstreet and Matt Pierson to provide relationship marketing services for national customers who use marketing tools like Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
What’s even more exciting is the fact that nimblejack is Topher’s second marketing services firm. While earning his Kelley MBA, Topher actually started another creative agency – xiik. More recently, nimblejack and xiik have merged, keeping the nimblejack name.
Along the way, Topher recruited fellow Kelley Evening MBA alumnus Matt Pierson to be nimblejack’s president.
For this lecture, our Evening MBA students heard the career journeys of Topher, Chris Sutton (also an Evening MBA alumnus who was most recently the top marketer at hhGregg) and Jennifer Dzwonar (Managing Principal of Borshoff, one of the Indianapolis’ largest public relations and creative marketing agencies).
“As a former Kelley MBA alum, getting to host the current class of students at nimblejack was fantastic. They had great questions and showed obvious engagement in hearing us speak about entrepreneurship and marketing,” said Topher Overstreet, CEO of nimblejack. “It excites me to have such a high-caliber program so close, continuing to produce future marketing leaders and business owners.”
Evening MBA students heard how marketing continues to evolve due to the advent of digital marketing approaches.
We also heard about the key skills and capabilities of marketers – curiosity and a willingness to experiment.
After sharing their career journeys, the panelists entertained questions from current students on any marketing-related topic.
“Some of my most memorable moments as a Kelley Evening MBA student were the onsite visits to various companies in the Indianapolis area,” said Pierson, reflecting.
“Learning in a classroom definitely has value, but there is something special about being able to hear real stories straight from the mouths of local leaders,” said Pierson. “Knowing the impact those moments had on me, it was an honor to have nimblejack play a part in the growth of the current MBA class so many years later.”
One idea stressed by several panelists, was how they each leverage mentors to help guide their path, expose them to new ideas and help them consider issues that hadn’t even been thinking about. All three stressed the importance of taking action even if the efforts “fail,” because there is always an opportunity to learn from failure.
The “lecture” finished with one-on-one time where students could ask their questions individually to each panelist.
This evening was exactly the type of experience MBA students today appreciate as a way to learn. Here’s to getting out of the classroom and into the “real world.”