Experiencing Experiential Learning, Even from Afar

Students in Lecturer Mike McGuirk's class pose with Champion apparel.
Students in Lecturer Mike McGuirk's class pose with Champion apparel.

How confident is MovieComm founder and CEO Scott DiGiammarino ’84 in future Babson College graduates? So much so that he encouraged everyone in Senior Lecturer Sandra Bravo’s Strategic Marketing capstone class to connect with him on LinkedIn.

“He said, ‘I’ll help you find a job, I’ll give you advice, I’ll help you in any way I can,’ ” Bravo says. “He’s offered it twice.”

It’s far from a blind invitation. DiGiammarino, who established his film library business in 2016, has been working with this group of students all semester long, seeking their input on positioning, brand voice and slogan, social media, and user experience.

“It’s broad, fresh perspectives,” Bravo says. “It’s an energy that says, ‘I’m hungry for this.’

“That’s a beautiful thing.”

In one of the College’s countless examples of remote experiential learning, along with a partnership with a longstanding sports apparel powerhouse, students have the opportunity to learn in one of the most effective ways possible: by doing.

Creativity Drives Innovation

Students in Bravo’s course have offered multiple rounds of business feedback through presentations to DiGiammarino, culminating in one large presentation to his marketing team and a group of investors.

Through this form of learning, students are able to get a snapshot of their future professional careers.

“You have to hit the ground running in business now,” Bravo says. “You need social media skills, you need to understand data and be able to apply it. … Creativity is hard for people to wrap their hands around, but it’s so important, because it drives innovation. That’s what makes you stand apart.”

DiGiammarino’s motivation to help these students is yet another example of the power of the College’s alumni network.

“Babson is a great community in that way,” Bravo says.

Collaborating from Around the World

Lecturer Mike McGuirk has been teaching at Babson for only a few months. But, in that short time, he continues to be amazed by the collaboration between students and cooperation with the challenges faced in this new normal.

In his marketing analytics courses, his students have worked with global apparel company Champion. Responsibilities have included developing a customer segmentation solution, estimating customer spending over the next two years, and forming that data into a set of marketing recommendations presented to Champion leadership.

The teamwork demonstrated between one group of students who worked together from Shanghai, Bangkok, and Wellesley resonated with McGuirk.

“It just blows your mind,” he says. “Since last spring, Babson students have been presented with an unexpected, unprecedented challenge of needing to adapt quickly. They were prepared to do it. … Their ability to operate remotely or in person is truly going to benefit them once they graduate.”

“Since last spring, Babson students have been presented with an unexpected, unprecedented challenge of needing to adapt quickly. They were prepared to do it. … Their ability to operate remotely or in person is truly going to benefit them once they graduate.”

Lecturer Mike McGuirk

During a series of presentations to Champion, students pitched a number of ideas that the brand was ready to implement immediately.

“Everything they brought to the table was insight-driven and authentic,” McGuirk says. “That came across to the clients in a big way.”

Champion was so impressed with the students’ suggestions, the brand provided several of them with gift baskets of apparel.

“I kept telling students, you’re sitting at Babson or working from homes remotely, but you should picture yourself as being in an office down at Champion. You’re doing everything a marketing analyst would be expected to do,” he says. “Students go into this thinking they’ll learn from Champion, but in large part, it’s two-way.”

Posted in Adapting, Together, Campus & Community

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