Lessons Beyond the Classroom

Cohort 13, a group of Stetson Executive MBA students, raised $60,000 during work for Boys & Girls Club of Central Florida.

Each year, one class of Executive MBA (EMBA) students at Stetson set out to change the world, one nonprofit at a time.

Last January, the class called Cohort 13 selected the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida as the nonprofit organization it wanted to help. By June, nearly $60,000 had been raised.

To accomplish such a feat, the students in the marketing class, MKTG 516, taught by Michelle DeMoss, Ph.D., Stetson’s Dennis C. McNamara Sr. Professor of Marketing, had to build a marketing plan and develop new ideas and sustainable improvements that would increase awareness and help raise funds.

Their success became obvious in the numbers.

“I am amazed and so proud of the work all of the EMBA students produced to help the Boys & Girls Club. The BGC took away four different strategic marketing plans and expressed that they were going to implement aspects of the different plans,” says DeMosss, who has written numerous articles in academic and professional journals, including the Journal of Consumer Behavior, the Journal of Business Ethics and theJournal of Business Education. She is a specialist in marketing ethics, sustainable business practices and marketing education.

While Stetson students gain valuable experience, children are the real winners.

DeMoss structures her marketing classes to allow students to visit the nonprofit, enabling them to meet members of the organization’s executive team. The objective of the projects is to apply real-world learning experiences to benefit both students and the community through service. The students gain insight about the organization’s marketing objectives and strategies so they can maximize marketing opportunities, DeMoss notes.

In this case, as an integral part of the marketing plan, the students hosted an event that raised more than $54,000 toward the eventual $60,000 total – spending just $200 in arrangements.

Notably, this isn’t the first time for MKTG 516. Over the past few years, students have worked with the Coalition for the Homeless and Second Harvest Food Bank, among others.

The learning experiences have been so impactful for both students and organizations that DeMoss also has incorporated them into her undergraduate course, Social Marketing for Nonprofits. Projects include working with Volusia County’s Environmental Management Division, Habitat for Humanity and the Museum of Art in DeLand.

“Of course,” DeMoss concludes, “the students were concerned about their course grade. But they went beyond this goal to truly caring about the Boys & Girls Club mission and having a positive impact on the children supported by the club. Experiences like this are what make teaching so rewarding.”

By Nicole Melchionda