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Showcasing Innovative Approaches to Real-world Challenges

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About 400 people representing the Poole College community and corporate partners passed through Nelson Hall on Friday, April 20, for the Ninth Annual Poole College of Management Leadership and Innovation Showcase.

Students representing 37 undergraduate team projects and 25 graduate team projects presented to industry executives – many of whom were NC State alumni – and showcased the depth and breadth of real world challenges they tacked this academic year. Student teams were competing for scholarship prizes ranging from $2,000-$5,000.

“This event shows that, at Poole College, we have indeed embraced the Think and Do ethos of NC State,” said Annette L. Ranft, Stephen P. Zelnak Jr. chair and dean of the college. “We believe that offering up real-world experiences, including meaningful work with industry partners and peers from across the university, better prepares our students for long-term career success.

“We are committed to instilling in our students strong analytical problem-solving skills and an entrepreneurial mindset. The projects you’ve seen today demonstrate these values – and frankly, make me optimistic about the future of business.”

The majority of the projects in the Showcase were sponsored by companies and facilitated by the centers and initiatives based in Poole College. “I thank our corporate partners for making these vital learning experiences possible. Your support and mentorship are sincerely appreciated. I also thank our 2017 Showcase sponsors – the NC State Foundation, John Deere and The Hire Scene – for their support of our event this year,” Ranft said.

Five winners were selected by teams of judges comprised of alumni and friends of the college in business and industry paired up with Poole College and other NC State faculty and professional staff.

Undergraduate Division

First Place: Team Poole 22. Team members Matt Miller, George Webb and Betsy Williams, all seniors, bachelor of business administration, are sharing a $3,500 scholarship award. This project was completed for project sponsor Bayer CropScience, as part of the students’ Supply Chain Practicum course completed in fall 2016. The course was taught by Donavon Favre, Tracy Freeman, supply chain lecturers, and Betty Minton, project mentor.

Project summary: Bayer CropScience tasked the students with creating an algorithm that analyzed the necessary components of vendor master data, to assess whether an account was a duplicate or obsolete. The team reports that implementation of their algorithm will result in cost savings and cost avoidance for Bayer CropScience through a reduced cost of reports and soft savings from improved efficiency and data integrity.

Second Place: Poole Team 40. Team members Camilla Caprioli, Katelyn Madden, Nichole Stone, Ian DeProspero, all seniors in business administration, are sharing a $2,000 scholarship award. This project was completed for Werner Ladders as part of the students’ 2017 spring semester Digital Marketing Practicum course, taught by Patrice Nealon, marketing lecturer.

Project summary: The team’s project was to help Werner Ladders, the largest ladder distributor in the United States, increase brand awareness and overall website traffic. As the firm did not engage in direct online sales, the team set a goal of increasing impressions through the Google Search Network, aiming for 80,000 impressions with 200 clicks.

Graduate Division

First Place: Jenkins Team 21. Team members Brian Himelright, Industrial Design; Shadaab Khan, David Majeski, master of microbial biotechnology; George Pinther, MBA; Nishad Sabnis, computer engineering; and Kevin Ullatudhodi, are sharing the $5,000 scholarship award.

This project was completed as part of the students’ fall 2016 semester project for their Product Innovation Lab course, MBA 555, taught by the multidisciplinary faculty team: Jon Bohlmann and John McCreery, Poole College; Ola Harrysson, Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, John Muth, Troy Nagle and Tom Snyder, electrical and computer engineering.

Project summary: Project sponsor NC RIoT challenged the team with designing and developing a physical product to improve safety and security for transportation cyclists. The interdisciplinary team was responsible for conducting a series of market and consume analysis, building and prototyping the physical product itself, and formulating a viable business venture, complete with financial projections and a market entry strategy.

Second Place: Jenkins Team 9. Team members: Team members are Justin Angel, MBA Online, Brian Neal, MBA Online, and Nicole Seabrook, MBA Online, are sharing the $3,000 scholarship award. This project was completed in spring 2017 as part of the coursework for Supply Chain Relationships, MBA 541, taught by Robert Handfield and John Zapko

Project summary: Project sponsor John Deere asked the team to design a cost comparison tool for the commercial mower platform. The tool needed to be able to compare up to three different mower types and have the flexibility to be modified for use in different John Deere platforms in the future.

People’s Choice

Those attending the Showcase were invited to talk with the student teams and vote online for their favorites. Each of the three teams receiving the top votes presented a 90-second pitch during the awards ceremony. About 200 students and guests at the awards program then voted for the People’s Choice overall winner.

People’s Choice Overall Winner Poole Team 4, Dry Goods, was selected by the audience attending the awards reception, based on the three People Choice finalists’ 90-second pitches.

Following are the three People Choice finalists and a summary of their projects.

First place: Poole Team 8, Digital Marketing Practicum taught by Patrice Nealon. Team members Lexy Garrett, Allan So, Grant Van Dusen and Camden Willeford, all seniors in business administration implemented a Goole AdWords campaign for Vybe Sunglasses, a startup launched by a team while they were students at NC State University. Vybe sells customizable and interchangeable sunglasses. Through Google Analytics and Google AdWords, the team created metrics to track and contribute to Vybe’s success in the online market.

Second Place: Poole Team 12, Marketing Research class, taught by Patrice Nealon. Team members Kristen Nagy, junior in business administration, Kayla Lyon, Rachel Mitchum, Alexandra Morin,, Jennifer Nash and Alexandre O’Hare, seniors in business administration evaluated the Jim Blackburn seminars and his current target market, expanded upon it by prioritizing his experience with mental health.

Third Place: Poole Team 4, BUS 495, Digital Marketing Practicum taught by Patrice Nealon. Team members Amar Hodzic, Diana Veit, juniors in business administration, Patrick Cartwright,  Erin McCauley, Jamie Wertz, seniors in business administration. This team worked with Dry Goods, a small company launched in 2010 and headquartered in New York, with a product line of anti-chafing sprays. With a lack of online marketing and company goals to increase online sale and brand awareness, he team designed a Google AdWords campaign with a 250 budget strategy to target specific a groups and keywords in an effort to maximize sales. Their approach was to use words not used by similar products.

About the judges

Poole College welcome back more than two dozen alumni  – some coming from cities across the U.S. and as far as London, England – who served on judging teams, along with friends of the college in business and industry and NC State administrative teams.

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