Business Students Collaborate on Marketing Projects

The dA Center for the Arts in Downtown Pomona will soon try some new promotional techniques thanks to the work of Cal Poly Pomona and the School of Arts and Enterprise students.

Since 2007, the university and the Pomona-based charter high school have worked with small business owners and managers in Pomona to enhance their marketing efforts. Students groups do everything from design fliers to advocate Web marketing.

“I think it's great that they helped out because we don't have much staff,” said Tiffani McEwan, manager of the dA Center for the Arts, a nonprofit group that offers arts shows and promotes arts education. “I want to bring [the business students] down to a meeting and have them make a presentation to our board members.”

The project is funded by a three-year, $200,000 grant from the Merrill Lynch Foundation to the School of Arts and Enterprise. This year, 17 Cal Poly Pomona business majors acted as mentors to the high school students, guiding them through process of research and project management and helping them refine their public speaking skills.  

In March, the students presented their ideas to local business leaders, teachers, professors and Merrill Lynch executives. The student group with the best presentation will receive recognition at ceremony on April 18.

Some of the businesses that participated this year include a Mexican restaurant that did not have anyone on staff to design fliers and a new hair salon that was looking for ways to introduce itself to the community.  

This collaboration exemplifies Cal Poly Pomona's learn-by-doing approach to education, according to Cheryl Wyrick, chair of the Management and Human Resources (MHR) department.

“The program provides Cal Poly Pomona students a preview of real-life management -determining priorities, setting clear and achievable goals and monitoring progress,” Wyrick said. “It allows our students the opportunity to convey what they've learned in their classes to local business owners and provide for them a different perspective on success strategies for their business.”

MHR senior Claudia Gutierrez decided to get involved in the project because she wants to launch her own community-based non-profit for children and teens. She enjoys the business side of non-profit management but Gutierrez wanted to have the hands-on learning experience to make sure she was pursuing the right career.

“Working with the students was such as a great experience,” Gutierrez said. “I realized how much I have a passion working with youth.”