WMU partners with Google to provide MBA students online marketing experience

by Tyler Lecceadone
March 13, 2017 | Extended University Programs News

google online marketing challenge logoGRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— Roxanne Buhl, a professor at Western Michigan University’s Grand Rapids regional location has partnered with Google Inc. to introduce 21 MBA students to the world of online advertising through the Google Online Marketing Challenge (GOMC). The challenge is a hands-on competition that provides participants with direct online advertising and marketing experience.

While working with West Michigan-based clients to devise effective online marketing campaigns, five student groups were given a budget of $250 each to purchase Google AdWords advertising. Area startup businesses and nonprofits partnering with the class include: CultureSwell LLC, The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, Goodwill of Greater Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Film Festival and Muskegon CrossFit.

“GOMC provides an opportunity to bring marketing theory to life by engaging students and allowing them to gain relevant and valuable skills through a practical hands-on learning experience,” said Buhl, who is also regional director for WMU’s Grand Rapids locations. “Our students have a real passion for helping their businesses and nonprofits build awareness and find new customers by growing their online presence in this fast-paced digital world.”

The students are currently running their 21-day campaigns and are assessing results. Following the assessments, the student groups will provide their clients with recommendations to further develop their online marketing.

After three weeks of trying to mastermind their strategies, the students will pit their campaigns against thousands of students worldwide. An independent academic panel, along with AdWords experts at Google, will review the campaigns and selects winning teams based on the success of their campaigns and the quality of their competition reports.

Through their participation in the project, students have the opportunity to become AdWords Certified as a way to showcase their digital marketing knowledge to potential employers. Participants are also entered to win prizes such as a trip to the Googleplex, a donation for their nonprofit partner, digital devices and Google merchandise.