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Caldwell, NJ – March 15, 2013 – Marketing students at Caldwell University had the opportunity to work with business leaders at a “Joint Case-Study Conference” on March 5. Marketing professor J.R. Bale presented the students with the case study and members of the college’s Business Advisory Council role played an accountant, lawyer and entrepreneur. The business leaders looked to the students for help in examining the case and making decisions on: target marketing, positioning and differentiation, product design, brand name, distribution, pricing and promotion. The business leaders who acted the parts were Barbara Davey, Community Outreach & Hospital Liaison for Crane’s Mill Continuing Care Retirement Community in West Caldwell; John Taylor, CPA, Kostka Taylor, LLC, Parsippany; and Anthony Rainone, Esq., Brach Eichler LLC, Roseland. 

Professor Bernard C. O’Rourke, associate dean, division of business at Caldwell University and chair of the Caldwell University Business Advisory Council said it was a very practical exercise where the students could match their marketing acumen with an experienced panel of business practitioners. “To enhance the value and authenticity of the occasion we turned a regular marketing class into a business conference. In addition to three case-study panelists from our Business Advisory Council, we had over a dozen business leaders, who were also council members, attend and participate in the conference. So, by tapping into the wonderful volunteer spirit of our advisory council we were able to bridge the gap for students between the classroom and reality. Of special value to everyone was the intense discussion revolving around the use of social media in contemporary marketing,” he said.

“Our council members seem to truly value the opportunity to get involved in helping our students and to participate in helping the college deliver a superior business program. In turn, we appreciate the council’s input as we constantly strive to update and improve our curriculum”, Professor O’Rourke said.

Matthew Wilson, Caldwell University sophomore, double majoring in music and accounting, said he particularly enjoyed this class “which had real world business people showing us how they would approach a case study in business.”

“From my perspective, this in-class conference made us feel as if we were in a genuine business situation. The panel of local business professionals explained how to solve the marketing challenges that faced the entrepreneur in the case study. The exercise gave me extra insight since we were able to see how business people with experience develop their thoughts when they face a difficult situation in business and marketing. It was especially fun that they listened to students’ ideas and provided instant feedback. All in all, it was a great addition to our regular marketing class and I appreciate Professor Bale giving us this opportunity,” Wilson said.
Barbara A. Davey, community outreach and hospital liaison at Crane’s Mill Continuing Care Retirement Community in West Caldwell was one of the panelists. “Participating in such an interactive and dynamic exercise as this marketing scenario was an educational experience for me,” said Davey, who is a member of the Caldwell University Business Advisory Council with nearly 30 years of marketing and public relations experience in the healthcare industry. “Bringing our expertise to the classroom was hopefully beneficial to the students to hear first-hand how those of us out in the business world truly market our services and products. However, as an aging Baby Boomer, who works in a retirement community no less, I was truly interested in hearing the students voice their views on the future of digital and social media marketing. The entire experience was a wonderful synergy of bringing the college and business community together, and I was honored to have been a participant.”

The Caldwell University Business Advisory Council was established over fifteen years ago to provide a bridge between the local business community and Caldwell University, especially its business program. Council membership comprises over 50 people and consists of business owners and senior executives from small, medium and large businesses in a broad range of in industries in the greater Essex County area. Also included in the membership are key elements of the college community such as business faculty, senior administrators and several student leaders.
The council meets at least six times during each academic year. It provides a platform for a wealth of activities such as discussion of best practices in business, mentorship and internships for students, showcasing of faculty research and scholarship; in short, any endeavors that advance the involvement of local business leaders to the benefit of the community – the college’s and beyond.