"I want my students to experience marketing research."
Bonnie Feigenbaum is a professor in the department of Marketing who literally brings 30 years of experience of working in industry into the classroom by inviting organizations from her vast network into her marketing research class. “Since 2014, I’ve had over 40 different organizations work with my students, and they keep coming back, which is proof of the students’ abilities.” Her students have worked with Global News, Just For Laughs, Modo Yoga, The Concordia Stingers, Le Gym, Reggies and the JMSB Undergraduate Office, to name a few.
“I’ve been in the workforce since the 80s, and I’ve seen the industry change so much over the years. That’s why I make an effort to partner with Concordia’s units or external organizations to give students a sense of what doing marketing research is really like. They have to put in the time and the effort it takes to be successful, and they have to learn to adapt when dealing with clients who can modify mandates of the project in midstream.”
In a typical class, Bonnie will have her 60 students split up into 10 teams to work on a marketing research project. Interested organizations will present their projects through a request for proposals (RFP), and the projects are assigned on a first-come-first-served basis. They then have to produce a marketing research proposal (MRP), and a survey. “I’m function as the project manager. I’m the intermediary between the students and the organization. I review the students’ submissions and prepare them for the final presentations where they share what they’ve developed over the course of the semester with their client. This class goes beyond the mid-term and final exam format to give students a real world experience that is challenging and fun. For example, some of her students worked with Global News Montreal and they were invited to an early morning rave to promote the 5am morning show.
Travis Todd (Marketing and Promotions, Global Montreal) takes a selfie with Bonnie and her students.
Bonnie sees the benefits of an immersive experiential learning teaching strategy every semester. “I’ve had students write to me after my class to say that they’ve done exactly what they’d learned in my class on the job. Because of my experience, I can share my expertise and students appreciate it. Some of my students have also been hired by the organizations that they’ve worked with. That’s really the confirmation that I need to know that what I’m doing is working.” In reflecting on her teaching strategy, she hopes that more faculty members will consider inviting an organization into the classroom. “It’s really rewarding to see how students progress over the start of the semester, and that motivates me to work harder for them. In addition, the student groups are motivated when they see that the companies really do take their recommendations seriously. In fact, Just for laughs introduced a new Bilingual pass for the comedy festival based on the students' report.”
One student wrote to Bonnie after taking her class to tell her about the impact her teaching has had on his career. “I remember enjoying the class a lot more than I thought I would because your teaching style made the class interesting and engaging. Now I'm fully immersed into the market research world and loving it! I may have not accepted the role if I didn't have such a great experience with you as my prof.”
Do you want to invite an organization into your classroom?
Concordia partnered with Riipen in 2018 to offer faculty access to a wide network of organizations, from public, to private to the non-profit sphere. Learn more about how you can use riipen to incorporate an experiential learning activity in your classroom next semester.
In addition to teaching at Concordia, Bonnie is also a Senior Consultant with TKNR Media Inc. Hear more from Bonnie below.