This is a story of an intrepid group of marketing students attending the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs that saw the need for a networking group in their area and created a chapter of the Colorado American Marketing Association. We spoke to Jessy Sweet, one of the group’s co-leaders to learn more about this ambitious project.
Your group has shown tremendous initiative in starting a Colorado Springs chapter of the Colorado American Marketing Association. What motivated you to organize a chapter?
We started the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs American Marketing Association (UCCS AMA) chapter because we saw a gap between students getting a marketing education and Colorado Springs professionals. We wanted to build an agile organization in which UCCS business majors could develop “real world” job skills, build a strong network, and have a successful transition from college to career in a safe and fun environment.
Your first event drew over 50 participants. Tell us about the panel you organized.
Our first event was a panel focused on personal branding. We wanted to help students understand how they can build their personal brand while in college to help them launch their career.
We had 5 fantastic panelists from great local companies- Blakely & Company, Bristol Brewing, Graham Oleson, Penrose-St. Francis Health Services, and Social SEO. Our panelists shared everything from their own branding blunders to what they look for in a potential employee trying to get hired in their company. We had a good turnout, but more importantly, several students were able to build relationships and open opportunities like internships and coffee dates that they otherwise might not have had. We’re looking forward to hosting more AMA events on the UCCS campus this coming school year.
What do you have planned to build on the momentum you’ve already achieved?
Right now, our primary focus is to build our calendar of events and projects for next year. We have a “scoping meeting” next week in which students and other stakeholders will bring their event and project ideas to the table and vote on what they want to see on campus.
We also have several other initiatives focused on growing and maintaining a valuable organization: club sustainability, getting new students into leadership positions as current leaders graduate; business development, pulling together an “advisory board” of academic and professional leaders giving us access to resources including strategic guidance, mentorship, and feedback; and club sponsorship, decreasing professional membership costs for students who might not be able to afford it otherwise.
How has leading a chapter of the Colorado AMA impacted your outlook on the marketing profession?
My leadership team has gotten so much great exposure to top notch marketing professionals through AMA. Personally, I’ve learned that marketing is more multidimensional than I originally assumed. It’s technical and creative, scrappy and systematic, original and tried-and-true. Two people can work in the same department with totally different skills and tools and both create something brilliant. As an aspiring marketer, it means I can make my career anything I want.
As a current student, tell us what aspects of marketing are being emphasized in the curriculum.
Since marketing covers so many disciplines and changes so rapidly, our curriculum at UCCS focuses pretty heavily on promotional and brand strategy and research – understanding your customers and your market. We hope to complement this education with “just-in-time” digital skills workshops and professional development training.
Thank you so much for interviewing us! We’ve had a blast this year working with CO AMA… For any questions, ideas, internship opportunities, etc., contact current president Jessy Sweet at firstname.lastname@example.org or find the UCCS AMA online at facebook.com/UCCSAMA/.