At Indiana University Northwest, Yllka Azemi teaches “Marketing Strategies,” a course designed for business administration majors that requires students to develop a marketing plan for a new product or service, or an existing business.
This is no ordinary school project. Pairing students with real businesspeople in the community enables learning that exceeds books or lectures. Azemi intensifies the learning by making the final project a competition between students.
The course is gaining a reputation among students and the local business community for its ability to convey real-world experience to students, forge quality mentor-mentee relationships, and unite campus neighbors with campus resources.
A year ago, three women launched their class project into an actual business, Truly Teas. More recently, the course's winning presentation resulted in a marketing plan for J’s Breakfast Club, a local restaurant near the IU Northwest campus owned by Joslyn R.W. Kelly.
The five business administration majors who created the plan for J’s –Giorana Bilbija, David Hertl, Marissa Kolosli, Ernestine Harper Price, and Rami Tadros – said the opportunity to work directly with a local business owner on her marketing plan presented lessons and experience they never would have received from a book or lecture.
“Professor Azemi opened doors for us by getting us out of the books,” said Hertl, who has aspirations of opening a restaurant/music venue. “College is a lot of lectures and tests, and breaking out of that really had a huge impact for all of us. This felt like the most important thing that I had ever done in school.”
Tadros, who hopes to one day land a job at a technology powerhouse like Apple or Google, found a new passion for marketing during the course.
“Joslyn is such an inspiration to us,” he said. “As a business owner who is active in the community and who is such a humble, great business owner, she inspired us to do the best that we can in our future endeavors."