Wednesday, October 21, 2020 | 1:30 - 2:45 PM Central Time
Presenters: Dr. Venky Venkatachalam, University of South Dakota, and Dr. Anne Balazs, University of Toledo
This annual MABDA competition recognizes creative and unique strategies and programs that advance the quality of higher education and the management of resources in business schools of the MidAmerican Business Deans Association. The award winners from the two tracks in this year’s Innovation in Business Education competition will present their projects at this session.
Venky Venkatachalam is the dean at the Beacom School of Business at the University of South Dakota. Prior to this appointment, he was associate dean and professor at the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire. He received his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Madras, India; his M.B.A. from the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta; and Ph.D. from the University of Alabama. Venkatachalam also worked in industry as an engineer for four years (1983-87). Since August 2005, he was the director of the Enterprise Integration Research Center at the University of New Hampshire. At UNH, Venkatachalam received several awards and distinctions, including the 2012 UNH Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Public Service, the 2006 UNH Faculty Excellence in Research Award and the 1995 UNH Teaching Excellence Award.
Venkatachalam is an accomplished teacher, researcher, team builder, networker, entrepreneur and innovator developing several successful academic programs, including a J.D./M.B.A. dual degree program, entrepreneurship track in the M.B.A. program, M.S. Management of Technology, accelerated one-year full-time M.B.A., online M.B.A., campus-wide minor in entrepreneurship for non-business majors and an undergraduate program in information systems. Venkatachalam has successfully completed research projects funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of Commerce, Department of Homeland Security, Small Business Administration and the National Science Foundation. During 2009-13, he was the project director for a clean energy technology accelerator project (Green Launching Pad), funded by the Department of Energy that successfully launched 14 green startups in two years.
Anne Balazs is an expert in marketing, consumer behavior and sales force management with administrative experience in higher education and dean of The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation. Balazs is the first woman to serve as dean of the UT College of Business and Innovation. Before joining the University of Toledo, Balazs served as interim dean of the College of Business at Eastern Michigan University (EMU). During her 10 years at EMU, Balazs held a number of roles, including interim assistant vice president and director of graduate studies, interim director of graduate studies, special assistant to the dean of the College of Business, head of the Department of Marketing, and professor of marketing.
Prior to EMU, Balazs worked at Mississippi University for Women as interim dean of the College of Business, head of the Division of Business and Communications, and associate professor of marketing. She started her teaching career at the University of Oklahoma as an assistant professor of marketing.
Balazs holds a PhD in business administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, studied masters-level course work in economics at Boston University while working at Fidelity Investments, and earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Smith College. Her research has been published in the Journal of International Business, Journal of Consumer Affairs, Psychology & Marketing, and Journal of Business Research.
Category A (Pedagogical or curricular Innovation)
"Pioneering a Virtual Agency Model to professionalize experiential learning."
Joachim Scholz, Brock University (Winner)
The Goodman School of Business launched the world’s first dedicated augmented reality (AR) marketing course for undergraduate business students in May 2020. The central component of the course is an experiential learning project in which students design an AR marketing campaign for a real-world client. One of the biggest challenges of such projects is whether or not students’ recommendations will be implemented by the brand partner. To ensure high-quality implementation, this course pioneers a virtual agency model in which students collaborate with a professional implementation partner (i.e., an AR/VR development studio) and additional course consultants. Running a course as a virtual agency empowers students to complete complex real-world projects in realistic ways because they can focus their energies and time on issues that are most related to the class concepts and that they, as well as the professor, have the greatest expertise in. The virtual agency model has several positive outcomes at the student, university and community levels, and it is applicable across a wide variety of marketing courses.
"Digital Marketing SOS Project: Teaching Students to Be Virtual Consultants in Times of Crisis"
Kathy Fredrickson from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (Honorable Mention)
The Digital Marketing SOS Project is an 8-week program designed to address the digital marketing deficits of a small business. The SOS project brings the instructional expertise, client need and student personal branding together into one cohesive experience. It provides students the opportunity to identify weaknesses in digital marketing implementation, explain those deficits to their small business client in a strategic context and provide solutions in 12 measurable digital marketing areas, which includes social media and content development.
The project develops a strong presence for students on social media amongst potential employers because of the message and format includes the student, professor and the business. Every student publishes a blog post to summarize what they learned. This helps them in their personal branding on social media and positions them for employment.
A detailed rubric identifies where students delivered a recommendation in alignment with the strategy and provides the instructor with insights as to where additional attention should occur for future digital marketing students. To date, the Digital Marketing SOS program has been completed by 94 students and has helped 52 businesses.
Category B (New ways to achieve student engagement)
"Pivoting to Change the World during the pandemic Era."
Marina Onken, University of Wisconsin-River Falls (Winner)
By focusing upon changing the world, students are encouraged to think about the biggest problems facing the world and society. An Innovator-in-Residence, Innovation Challenge, and innovation courses all provide interdisciplinary opportunities for all students at the university to engage in innovation. The challenge this year is to provide those opportunities virtually with the help of faculty and the business community. Partnerships and technology provide the perfect combination to educate and develop students to have global impact.
"Making Connections and Shaping People Online – Webinars."
Deirdre Jones from the University of Toledo. (Honorable Mention)
When it became evident that the pandemic was going to be a slower, longer burn, the Edward Schmidt School of Professional Sales (ESSPS) in the College of Business & Innovation (COBI) at the University of Toledo re-imagined how they can shape people and make connections online by playing to their strengths and using their current resources. They also recognized the anxiety expressed by students and partners/sponsors and the varied levels of corporate preparedness for establishing and cultivating meaningful relationships with students online. The ESSPS has launched a webinar series as a small group collaboration between ESSPS Corporate Partners, UTISC Sponsors, select students, and faculty/staff to share expertise with students, alumni, and the business community. Webinars are complimentary and run live for 30-60 minutes on Zoom and are available on-demand afterwards in their ESSPS Showcase. Select webinars are also featured in their UTISC Showcase (national sales competition) as there is some content that is applicable to both audiences. Preliminary measures that are direct such as emails opened, social media interactions, hits to registration and webinar pages, registrations, and attendees can help ESSPS pave the way for the real prizes of other event registrations, intern and job placements, new student inquiries, enrollment, and workshop inquiries.