SHU's Market Research Center expands outreach
Seton Hall's Market Research Center has shown success in student-to-business partnerships since its opening this past April.
In the MRC, undergraduate and graduate business students conduct semester long projects that focus on key business issues or challenges, such as attracting more student business.
"I think the goal is to let students, faculty and businesses know we're here and what we can do," said Adam Warner, director of the MRC.
Warner said the semester-long projects often start with focus groups then expand efforts to one-on-one interviews over the course of a couple months.
According to Warner the center is conducting three projects this semester on campus with the Teaching Learning and Technology Center, Admissions, and the Career Center as well as three off-campus projects with Eden Gourmet, Planet Honda on Rt. 22, and a remodeling company.
"Slowly we're figuring out a model that works, meaning we're figuring out whose the right audience" Warner said.
According to Warner the center has seen a lot of success with students and with businesses in projects.
"It's really been a win-win," he said.
According to Warner, an example of work with businesses is the MRC's review of Planet Honda's television commercials in order to market to a wider audience.
Warner said that students get hands on real world experience in a market role while businesses get key insights and recommendations through the projects.
According to Warner, for the most part projects are incorporated in classes and are comprehensive.
Warner said that the center is still at the stage of getting the word out and getting contacts.
"We are on a great route with businesses," Warner said, adding that they need to establish contacts with alumni as well.
In Warner's opinion the center is starting to get new and repeat business customers.
According to Warner one especially successful partnership happened due to a project between a student working in the MRC and Stony's of South Orange last semester.
A video on the MRC website shows the owner of Stony's and the student discussing their positive experience working together.
Warner said the projects have had a positive impact on business dollars.
According to Warner, new in discussion is offering certificate in market research to go along with business degrees.
"We've been really pleasantly pleased with the way we've started off. Last year we had 14 projects with excellent feedback," Warner said.
There are also six international projects underway at the MRC which involve launching a product in another country and directing the right way to market industry in the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy.
Those working in the MRC interview other students and other members of the university for research.
"It's a matter of continuing to grow and establish and to get the word out" Warner said.
Time spent working on projects gives students a feel as to how to adapt business to different audiences, according to Warner.
"Something that the MRC provides that cannot be found in classes is genuine hands on experience with interviewing," Warner said. "You can't just find that information on Google, such as finding out shopping preferences or information about the post office of a certain country."
Warner said that thus far the value of the center comes from a successful partnership between university communications and businesses.
Charlotte Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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