Capstone course allows marketing students to work with companies on projects

Friday, August 4, 2017

Peter Masucci (far left) with his Marketing Workshop class outside the L.L. Bean flagship facility in Freeport, Maine. Credit: Peter Masucci

Paul College prides itself on providing its students with an education that prepares them for the workforce. One class, the senior professional capstone course in marketing, actually simulates real-life work projects students might encounter in their careers.

Marketing Workshop, the senior capstone course for all marketing students, allows students to test the waters of real-life marketing consulting. In this class, taught by principal lecturer in marketing Peter Masucci, teams of six to 10 students are matched with companies that have marketing problems they need help solving. These companies range from small nonprofits like Dover’s Woodman Museum to large global enterprises like  L. L. Bean. The teams spend the semester researching their company’s problem, offering up possible solutions, and then, when possible, help the company implement or test the solutions.

“It really requires them to put what they’ve learned in their classes over their four years into action,” said Masucci. Students act as pseudo marketing agencies and members are assigned different roles on the teams, such as being in charge of market research, consumer behavior, or advertising and creative.

“It’s always good to get real experience with a real product,” said Riley Pritchett ’17,  a student in the class who worked on a team with the company Revision Military, focusing on finding the company new products and new markets. “This kind of experience really elevates our education.” At the end of the semester, the student teams create a final written report and present their consulting projects at a showcase event for the participating companies, their fellow students, and Paul College faculty and staff.

“The final report and presentation really give the students something tangible that they can take with them to job interviews,” said Masucci. “Being able to show a prospective employer a tangible example of actual work they did for a real company prior to graduation has often helped tip the job scales in their favor.”

This spring, representatives from  L. L. Bean, a longtime participant in the workshop class, were unable to come to Durham for the student’s mid-term report presentations. Masucci arranged for the class to present their project reports at  L. L. Bean headquarters in Freeport, Maine, and tour the company’s flagship retail store as a sort of class field trip.

“To meet and hear L. L. Bean senior marketing managers talk about the complexities of multi-channel retail marketing,” Masucci said, “was really eyeopening for many in the class, and gave them a real appreciation for the role of marketing in business.”

Masucci has been teaching the marketing workshop class since 2005 and in his role has overseen more than 135 different student projects.