Spring 2015 Black School of Business Marketing Newsletter

Spring 2015 Black School of Business Marketing Newsletter

Spring 2015 Black School Marketing Newsletter 
Penn State Behrend, Black School of Business


This Month's Headlines

Greetings from the Marketing Program

News from the Marketing Major

Alumni and Friends

Impact of Involvement

Mark your Calendars


Greeting from the Marketing Program

It is with great pleasure that we present to you our very first newsletter for the Marketing Major. Exciting times are ahead for Marketing in the Black School of Business! We are in the process of developing an updated version of our curriculum to offer students enhanced skill sets in marketing media and data analytics. In this newsletter, we are delighted to spotlight the accomplishments of one of our alums, Joanna Crishock, and several of our undergraduates who are doing internships in the marketing field. In addition, as part Vision 2020 from the Black School of Business, the newsletter gives a peek at several Learning By Doing Initiatives going on in the Marketing Major. We judge our success by the success of our graduates. We would love to hear from you!


News from the Marketing Major

Ray Venkataraman

It is evident to both businesses and consumers that in today’s global marketplace is no longer “business as usual.” The way companies are financed, organized, staffed, and managed has changed. One of the most dynamic areas of business today is in the way products are developed, advertised, and sold to the customer, i.e. marketing. Due to the tremendous changes in the marketplace, our Behrend marketing faculty has been analyzing how we can make our major more relevant to our students and prospective employers. We will soon be presenting the new and improved marketing major, so stay tuned!

One change that we have already made is the addition of a new course, MKTG 441 Sustainability in Marketing Strategy, taught by Dr. Phylis Mansfield, associate professor of marketing. In this course, students investigate how organizations are incorporating the strategy of sustainability, including the triple bottom line of impact that their products have on their profit, the environment, and society. The course also includes field projects, such as last year’s partnership with Pedigree, a subsidiary of Mars, Inc., where students spent a weekend at a local animal shelter, cleaning, painting, and helping with landscaping projects. A few of the students also walked dogs and cuddled cats that were waiting for adoptive homes.Mary Beth Pinto

We began our analysis with marketing research from several stakeholder perspectives. We have collected data from a study done with our marketing alummnae, data from how current marketing students perceive the major, and the skills required by potential employers at the Behrend career fairs. We also included data from what the global industry expects of marketing graduates, and benchmarks from marketing majors at other universities.

From our research we found that there were three primary characteristics of a well-prepared marketing graduate: 1) problem-solving and critical thinking skills, 2) quantitative skills, and 3) a mastery of multi-media, particularly, social media. We are pleased to announce that we have proposed a revised curriculum that addresses these three areas, including some new courses in social media.

While we can’t provide specific de-tails yet, we can say the changes will focus on marketing as a viable, data-driven, contemporary, and exciting major! Stay tuned for details.


Alumni and Friends

Dr. Pelin Bicen


   Professor of marketing


"I say to every student: Travel, read, think critically, collaborate, ask questions, experiment, research, take chances, apply, learn from mistakes, try again, and get excited."


What is your educational background?

I have an undergraduate degree in theoretical mathematics from Boğaziçi University, Istanbul Turkey. I was quite fond of the theoretical facet of mathematics and studied complex numbers, Mandelbrot sets, which was a special topic. After graduation, I found myself in advertising as a strategic planner and statistical analyst. In order to understand what goes into marketing re-search and strategic planning, I decided to pursue an MBA with an emphasis in quantitative marketing. My interaction with my thesis advisor and the topic that I studied with her, supervised and unsupervised data mining techniques, made me interested in knowing more about marketing science.

My corporate experience in the field of advertising also fascinated me in terms of learning more about what goes into successful firm marketing strategies. After serious deliberation, I decided to move into a university setting. I started working as an instructor at the Istanbul Bilgi University Advertising Department where I mostly taught courses in marketing and advertising strategies, research methods, and also branding and integrated marketing communication. I worked with many industry experts at Istanbul Bilgi University. My exposure to award-winning advertising campaigns, and how they were thought, designed, and prepared increased my appetite to learn more about marketing.

This is when I decided to get my Ph.D. in marketing. The best place to learn and practice marketing is in the United States. Not only does this country have the best educational institutions in the world, but also marketing is practiced at a very creative and advanced level here. I wanted to work with Dr. Shelby D. Hunt, who is known for his fine work in the field of philosophy of science and establishing marketing as a scientific field in social sciences. I came to the U.S. to get my doctorate degree in 2004 and had the pleasure of working with Dr. Hunt. During my interactions with him, my interest switched from advertising to innovation. He is known for his published papers in the area of competitive strategies. And, my exposure to his work made me excited to learn more about how innovation happens and why only few companies manage to innovate in highly turbulent markets. This topic would eventually become my Ph.D. dissertation.

How would you describe your teaching style or method?

My teaching style resonates with the soul of innovation. My teaching philosophy involves sincere respect for the autonomy, curiosity, and creative capacity of my students. I believe that respect for these attributes is necessary and allows me, as an instructor, to set up an environment for candid dialog. As part of this dialog, students can learn and grow by confronting their differences, freely contribute to the overall benefit of the group, and in the process expand the horizons of their knowledge. To meet this goal, I design my marketing classes as workshops. Marketing is an artful science. It requires both analytical and artful thinking. It is data-oriented. The outcome has to be creatively insightful to the point that it will move today’s highly skeptical, knowledgeable, and powerful customers. It is harder than ever to do that. This is why I use a workshop classroom style. In order to en-gage students in the creative process of marketing, they need first to be comfortable sharing their insights with others without having fear of what others may think of them. They need to be comfortable with being wrong. Workshops have activities that demand students get out of their comfort zone. It requires them to share their ideas on provocative topics. I strongly believe that human curiosity is in a permanent process of social construction. Ingenuous curiosity does not automatically become critical; it takes time. This is why I provide them with several opportunities to try again… and again.

What made you want to become a professor?

I always have had a desire to share what I know. I like talking about the things that excite me. This genuine curiosity and obsession to simplify complicated information and then share what I have learned with others turned into an occupation. They call it teaching, I call it sharing my excitement and information with others. Excitement is contagious. When you are listening to exciting people, you just become excited. This is what I do in and outside of the classroom: I share what fascinates and excites me about marketing. I don’t think I chose marketing, I think it chose me. I found marketing to be very fascinating. I like every topic of marketing, from sales to consumer behavior. But what I love most is the topic of innovation. I love the creative, failing-forward, uncertain and unknown nature of innovation. I love the non-linear and fuzzy thinking process of innovation. I love the disruptive nature of innovation. Few companies innovate consistently well: IBM, Google, Nike, Amazon, Apple, Salesforce.com are a few that do. I like studying the science be-hind their success. That is what my research is focused on.

What do you like most about Behrend?

I like the atmosphere at Behrend. It is encouraging and open-minded. It is friendly and nice. The atmosphere is progressive and thoughtful. Mostly, it is caring. I am encouraged to try new techniques and methods. I feel supported by my colleagues and students when I try something new in the class—including a company’s project, incorporating a new technology, or a new pedagogical technique. It is refreshing to work at a place like Behrend.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I like marketing. It does not feel like work. I like reading, talking, and writing about it. There are times, of course, when I do other things. I like to travel. It gives me a different perspective and it is a humbling experience. I love snowboarding, biking, and swimming, too. I love cooking different cuisines – Mediterranean and Mexican are my favorites. For me, cooking is a calming and meditative process. There is so much one can do with cooking. I also love watching independent movies and documentaries. If I have the time, I love going to film festivals to be in the crowd of indie movie fans and see small budget creative films. And reading—fiction, non-fiction, it does not matter—I appreciate people taking time to write about their interests. I have many authors I love, but my favorite ones are Leo Tolstoy, Kurt Vonnegut, Lucius Seneca, Boris Vian, Italo Calvino, Seth Godin, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

What is your favorite topic to research/work on within Marketing?

When I was writing my dissertation, part of the process was to collect data from innovation executives in leading technology oriented companies. I spoke with about 700 people on the phone to gather their insight on innovation alliances, and how new products come out. My interest in innovation and new product development increased during these stimulating conversations. Not only did I want to learn more about innovative new product development processes, but I also wanted to share what I knew with others.

Do you have any personal advice for current students majoring in Marketing?

We are living in a very exciting world where everything seems to move and progress very quickly. At the same time we are milliseconds away from accessing massive amounts of information. It is sometimes daunting to see that fast-paced and increasingly complex world change around us. But, we are all in it and living it. My humble advice—not just to Marketing students but to all students—is to learn how to embrace uncertainty and find ways to creatively deal with it. Having the courage and maturity to make mistakes and learn from them comes first in dealing with that uncertainty. The world we live in expects us to experiment and learn from those experiments. That makes curiosity the key. I say to every student: Travel, read, think critically, collaborate, ask questions, experiment, research, take chances, apply, learn from mistakes, try again, and get excited.


Joanna Crishock


Executive and Divisions Insights Specialist at Athold USA

Ahold USA is a grocery retailer of 750+ stores with four separate divisions – Giant Carlisle, Giant Landover, Stop & Shop New England, and Stop & Shop New York Met-ro.  Before joining Ahold in 2010, Joanna worked at TNS, one of the largest research agencies worldwide, where she focused heavily on branding and advertising. She also worked for Leap Research, where she played a crucial role in launching the company. She says her prior experience was pivotal in her success at Ahold where she was a consumer insights analyst before being promoted in 2013 to a specialist with the Executive and Division Insights team. She focuses on addressing business-wide issues involving the competitive landscape and overall market conditions, store operations, merchandising, marketing, shopper segmentation and customer perceptions and feedback.


Becky Goldsmith


Marketing senior

What is your position and where? Account Executive Intern at Bensur Creative Marketing Group

How did you obtain your internship? I talked to Dan Bensur when he came to speak to the Marketing Club, then I went through their application process and got an interview.

What were some of your job duties?  I Updated the Visit Erie mobile application using web CMS, created social media con-tent and scheduled future posts to increase brand development, created content for e-newsletters, performed secondary market research, and wrote web analytics reports for clients

What is one thing you learned from working that you would not have known from classes?  One thing I learned is how Google Ad-Words, Facebook ads, and Pandora advertising actually work and how to use them. Writing web analytics reports from these platforms showed me what actually happens behind the scenes of digital marketing. I also learned how sweepstakes actually work.

What would you recommend to other students looking for internships/starting an internship?  My main piece of advice in regard to intern-ships is to do them as soon as you possibly can, even if you’re only a sophomore. I really wish that I had done more internships because a lot of jobs that I’m applying for now require 1-3 years of experience which I could have easily obtained if I would have planned ahead. Also, when you’re doing an internship make sure you set goals of what you want to accomplish while you’re there. It will help you get the experience and knowledge that you need in your field in-stead of just being given busy work to fill time.

What was the biggest takeaway from the experience?  Never be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t know a certain detail about what is being asked of you, make sure you communicate with your supervisor or manager or even professor because they might not realize that they left out important details.


Paige McNabb


Marketing senior

What is your position and where?  Marketing intern at Bensur Creative Marketing Group in Erie

How did you obtain your internship?  Dan Bensur, owner of Bensur CMG, came to speak with the Marketing Club during the fall of 2013. When visiting, he spoke about the advertising industry and also about internship opportunities available at his company. I hope to work for an advertising firm after graduation, so I knew that this company would be a great one to intern with. I spoke with Dan Bensur after the meeting and told him that I was very interested in a position. He said I should submit my résumé, cover letter, and a writing sample to account coordinator Lisa Fischer. I had an interview and shortly after, was offered a summer internship at Bensur CMG.

What were some of your job duties?  I worked on campaign development, social media management, market and competitor research, public relations management, copywriting, proofing, and editing.

What is one thing you learned from working that you would not have known from classes?  I worked a lot with social media management and digital media, which is something that is not covered in-depth in many classes because it is so new and ever changing.

What would you recommend to other students looking for internships/starting an internship?  Start early. I did not find the right internship for me until the summer after my junior year. I wish I would have had an internship after my sophomore year so that I would have been able to experience different types of marketing positions.

Don’t rule out unpaid internships. Companies that do not pay interns understand that you also have to work a part-time job, so they tend to be more flexible. Bensur CMG allowed me to have a very flexible work schedule.

What was the biggest takeaway from the experience?  Being a part of a professional environment was eye-opening. I learned a lot, but the overall experience of just being a part of a professional group working together to reach a common goal was by far the most rewarding aspect. I also was able to see the real-world application of things I learned in class.


Patience Snyder


Marketing major

What is your position and where?  I am the Event Planning Intern for the Black School of Business here at Behrend.

Wow did you obtain your internship?  My friend and fellow Behrend student, Ashley Micsky, had this position last year. I contacted Dr. Mary Beth Pinto, sent her my résumé and met with her to discuss my interest in event planning.

What were some of your job duties?  I make all of the posters and signage for the Black School of Business clubs and organizations, speakers, etc. I also help with signage for special events, like job and career fairs. I maintain the intern/alumna display case on the second floor of Burke Center that highlights the accomplishments of Behrend students and alumni.

What is one thing you learned working that you would not have known from classes?  There is a lot more to making signage than I would have expected. With the help I received from Dr. Carrie Payne, coordinator for strategic proposal development, I feel much more confident in creating posters and advertisements. There is also a lot of collaboration between professors, students, and organizations that I never knew. I have had the opportunity to reach out to club presidents, faculty members, and staff in a professional capacity and present them with ideas and options for attention getting signage.

What would you recommend to other students looking for internships/starting an internship?  Take every opportunity that comes your way. Because of this internship, I’ve received offers from other companies to help promote their company. You have to put yourself out there and be prepared to fail. Stay positive and apply to any internship opportunities that interest you.

What was the biggest takeaway from the experience?  I was surprised by the appreciation I’ve received. I did not expect that people would find my position meaningful and I am grateful for the support and encouragement I have received from the Black School of Business staff, Dr. Pinto, Dr. Filbeck, Mr. Bestoso, and Dr. Payne. I’ve learned that our professors truly are here to help, and they whole-heartedly want students to succeed.


Meghan Dittrich


Marketing Junior

What is your position and where?  I am currently participating in the Disney College Program in Orlando, Florida.

How did you obtain your internship?  After applying through their website and completing a series of interviews, including a personality test and phone interview, I was accepted into their merchandise department in Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom.

What were some of your job duties?  Merchandising duties include running the cash register, stocking, merchantainment (merchandise + entertainment), pin trading with our guests, greeting our guests, and so forth.

What is one thing you learned working that you would not have known from classes? There are many things that I have taken from the classroom and put to work at Disney each day. But there are also many things that I have learned on the job. At Disney, I have truly learned the importance of making each and every guest feel like an individual and not “just another customer.” I have also learned the importance of loss prevention, and the most effective ways to prevent customers from stealing.

What would you recommend to other students looking for internships or starting an internship?  I would recommend students apply and pursue any company they feel passionate about. Acceptance may not always be easy, and rejections do hurt, but keep trying. Apply for internships that seem both interesting and exciting to you and the experience will be that much greater. Confucius once said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” This can easily be applied to my internship experience at Disney. Each day I go into work, my goal is to enhance the experience of each and every guest who enters Walt Disney World property.

What was the biggest takeaway from the experience?  Another thing I’ve learned from this experience is to enjoy every moment you have outside of work. I am so lucky that I have the ability to visit any of the four parks, Downtown Disney, each of the water parks, and other places in the Orlando area. I truly feel like I’m living a six-month vacation, and just working a little bit in between ad-ventures.

Finally, if anyone has an interest in the Walt Disney World Company, I strongly encourage you to apply. They provide a great living and learning experience for all of the college program participants.



Impact of Involvement


Erie Chapter president John Stockard and vice president Lori Barber of Rotary International spoke about the issue of declining membership their club has faced. They explained that the biggest challenge to the Erie chapter is the acquisition and retention of new members.

To explore the issue in-depth, the Penn State Erie MKTG 342 Marketing Research class of Fall 2014 conducted a research project with a main objective to find out the possible reasons for the membership decline and the factors that lead to the involvement of prospective members.

Under the guidance of Dr. Pelin Bicen, professor of marketing, students conducted the research project and provided the Erie Rotary Club executive board members with the executive report at the end of the semester. The report summarized the highlights of the research process and also provided the board members with the findings and recommendations from this research project.

The research process followed three steps: Conducting an in-depth literature review to get a sense of the general spectrum of the non-profits membership acquisition and retention problem; conducting a qualitative study where the main methodology was focus groups; and conducting a quantitative study where the main methodology was survey design.

The marketing research class conducted eight focus groups, with five participants in each group in a two weeks’ time period. A majority of the participants were senior-level college students who actively participated in clubs and student organizations. The focus groups mainly centered on under-standing what drives younger generations, like the Millennials, to join voluntary service organizations.

After conducting focus groups, students spent a month conducting the survey study. The sampling process started with choosing the sampling frame. Respondents of the survey were in the early stages of their career, with a college degree. Later, the sampling frame would expand this focus to-wards senior students on track for graduation.

Findings from the study showed that there is a steady decline in many of the nonprofit and voluntary associations across the country. Struggling with an aging membership and competing with younger generations’ definitions of community, many profession-al networking groups are interested in understanding the direction social change is leading towards and also finding innovative ways to attract a diverse group of young people. Findings also showed that it is not only the changing definition of society but also time constraints and economic woes that may prevent young people from joining organizations. In families where both parents work outside the home, family time may take precedence over community service. This leads to trouble attending regular meetings, particularly luncheons.

These preliminary findings encouraged Dr. Bicen to conduct a more in-depth follow-up study. For that, a spring of 2015 MKTG 342

Marketing Research class is currently con-ducting a research project with the Erie Chapter of Rotary International to find ways to increase their social capital. The findings from this study will lead the organization to craft a marketing plan to act on the results.

This research project with the Erie Rotary Club has potential to lead to many more classroom projects with marketing students. It also has the potential to begin a strong relationship between Penn State Behrend’s Black School of Business and the Erie Chapter of Rotary International.



NEWS FLASH: The plus-size market is get-ting lots of attention among retailers and de-signers. Sales of plus-size women’s clothing grew 5 percent last year, with department stores, e-commerce sites, off-price retailers, and specialty chains, all posting gains. The largest share of the market is in the 55-64 age group. However, sales in the 18-24 segment and 25-34 segment also grew, 23 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

In the fall of 2014, Dr. Mary Beth Pinto’s Retailing Class (MKTG 327) worked as retail consultants for Blair Corporation of Warren, Pa.

Project Objective: Blair has identified an opportunity to extend sizes offered as a means of market growth. In this project, students conducted primary and secondary research to help Blair assess the extended plus-size market opportunity and also identify appropriate product and positioning for future offers.

Dr. Pinto would like to give special thanks to one of our MBA alums, Marisa Smith, who is vice president of Menswear, Merchandising Operations, Quality and Logistics at Blair for working with us on this project.


Beast on the Bay


Students in Dr. Mary Beth Pinto’s Buyer Behavior course (MKTG 344) are working as marketing analysts for the Barber National Institute (BNI) in Erie, focusing on the Institute’s Barber Beast on the Bay.

What is Beast on the Bay? Beast on the Bay (BOTB) is a fundraising event to help support the Barber National Institute and its work with children and adults with disabilities. See the link: http://www.barberbeast.org/about/what-is-barber-beast-on-the-bay. The BOTB includes both a 10-mile course and an adaptive course for adults with disabilities. For the 10-mile course, participants run, climb and crawl along Presque Isle State Park. In addition to stretches of sand, the course includes trails, mud, water, and hard pack surfaces. For the adaptive course, participants complete a 1.2-mile loop that begins and ends at Beach No. 1 at Presque Isle State Park. The course will accommodate ambulatory participants as well as those in a wheelchair or power chair. Six obstacles are spaced throughout the course and incorporate a variety of challenges developed by a team of physical therapists and educators from the Barber National Institute, fitness trainers, and representatives from the disabilities community. All participants in the adaptive course are welcome to have a “course buddy” accompany them free of charge if needed.

Students are conducting primary and secondary research to investigate:

How can BNI attract more participants from the 16-25 year old age group Beast on the Bay?

How can BNI promote Beast on the Bay outside the Erie market to Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Buffalo, and Canada?

How can social media be used best to promote and encourage participation in the Beast on the Bay?



March 4, Marketing Club Meeting, 3:00 p.m., Burke 207


March 18, Flagship Niagara League Speaker, 3:00 p.m., Burke 208

Director of Marketing & Development, Erin Ahlgren


March 25, Tungsten Creative Group Speaker, 3:00 p.m., Burke 207

Agency Partner, Joe Weunski


April 8, Marketing Club Meeting, 6:00 p.m., Buffalo Wild Wings

Join the club members for wings and marketing at Buffalo Wild Wings!


Message from the former Marketing Club President, Jessica Brennan

As marketers, we strive to stand out and make a difference every day. The Marketing Club at Penn State Behrend is here to provide opportunities for members to expand their résumés and display their creative skills in the field. My favorite quote from marketing guru Seth Godin serves as the guiding principle for our club: “How dare you settle for less when the world has made it so easy for you to be remarkable?” With the help of fellow student clubs, faculty, and alumni, Marketing Club strives to be remarkable in all that we do.

Students: Attending just one (or 10) club event(s) per semester can change your course and perceptions for a lifetime. Previous event attendees have used the knowledge they gained from one conversation to earn their first interview, get their first job, change their concept of a specific job, or open their eyes to a world of possibilities. Take a deep breath, and walk through the door. You are welcome here.

Alumni and Friends: Your time, experiences, insights, and perspectives are valuable—perhaps more valuable that you know. We want to know what impacted your career, your perspectives, and your life. Tell us through the Black School of Business Facebook page, the newly-created (and growing) Black School of Business LinkedIn group, or by emailing Ariana Gloeckner, newsletter coordinator, at azg5486@psu.edu. Thank you to the Marketing Club, Dr. Mary Beth Pinto, Dr. Greg Filbeck, Heather Cass, and Sydney Sample for all their assistance in content development and editing.


Penn State Erie, The Behrend College Black School of Business 
Jack Burke Research and Economic Development Center 
4701 College Drive 
Erie, PA 16563 
Phone: 814-898-6107