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Poole Showcase Celebrates Student Innovation and Employer Engagement

On Thursday, April 25, the Poole College of Management hosted its 11th annual Leadership and Innovation Showcase attended by students, faculty, and corporate partners. Student teams presented innovative solutions to business and social challenges across a variety of disciplines, including entrepreneurship, operations, and supply chain management.

Students representing 24 undergraduate team projects and 21 graduate team projects presented to a variety of industry executives, including NC State alumni, and demonstrated the depth and breadth of real-world challenges they tackled throughout the academic year. The teams were competing against one another for scholarship prizes that ranged between $1,000 to $5,000.  

“This showcase is one of the most visible ways to show how Poole College of Management can think and do,” said Frank Buckless, interim dean, Matthew and Ruth Keen Faculty Fellow and professor of accounting. “It allows our students to develop their critical and innovative problem-solving abilities.”

The majority of the projects in the showcase were sponsored by various companies and were judged by 29 industry executives from around the world. Four winning teams, represented by undergraduate and graduate students, were selected by judges, while three finalists were chosen to compete in the People’s Choice, which allowed attendee to select their winning project team.

Winning team names and photos may be found on the Poole College of Management Facebook page.

Undergraduate Division

First Place: Poole Team 29 Team comprised solely by Thomas Armstrong won $3,500 in scholarship. This project was completed for the project sponsor Poole Global, as a part of the Entrepreneurship Study Abroad class. The project was overseen by Lewis Sheats, a professor of practice in entrepreneurship.

Project Summary: Last summer, I had the incredible experience of traveling to Adelaide, Australia to study Entrepreneurship. As an experienced videographer & photographer, and a passionate student of Poole Global, I knew I wanted to find a better way to share the mission of these programs. This series of videos and photography now serve as compelling marketing materials for the program, which doubled in size between year one and year two.

Second Place: Poole Team 18 Team members included Yusuf Mahmoud, Svetlana Geshtovt, Kate Porter, Macie Wright, and Caroline Groenendijk who will share a $2,000 scholarship. This project was completed for the project sponsor Haywood Hall. The project was completed under the advisory of Patrice Nealon, senior lecturer in marketing, for the BUS 469 Digital Marketing class.

Project Summary: Our team is running an organic social media marketing campaign for Haywood Hall, a historic wedding and events venue here in downtown Raleigh ran by members of the National Society of The Colonial Dames of America. Our main objective is to revive the client’s social media platforms to generate more brand awareness and drive more traffic. We are working to increase the number of events and weddings booked at the venue every year by matching our client’s social media to their target market and creating an engaged following on social media that we can use to reach our client’s goals.

Graduate Division

First Place: Jenkins Team 9  Team members included Andrew Bowker and Praneet Mocherla who will share a $5,000 scholarship. The team worked together to create their company, Chirp, under the advisement of Jonathan Bohlmann, a professor of marketing and innovation, for the MBA 555 Product Design and Development class.

Project Summary: Kitchen stove fires are ultimately responsible for ½ of all home fires and equate to 5K+ deaths, 11K+ injuries, and $5.7B in property damages annually. Why? How? The average smoke detector is “not recommended for kitchen use” and is installed TOO FAR from the stove which causes detection delays. Due to the market’s need for a more sophisticated smoke detector, we created Chirp. Chirp’s mission is to make kitchens safer by enhancing fire prediction and response through smart monitoring, early detection, and alert intervention. Chirp leverages several sensors, an IR camera, and a proprietary algorithm to monitor the stove and address threats to reduce emergency response times.

Second Place: Jenkins Team 12 Team members included Amanda Lee, Nicole Hensley, Greg Stryker, Prerana Rao, Dilip Raju, Ashish Burugpalli, and Adenike Adeyemi who will share a $3,000 scholarship. This project was completed for the project sponsor Altria and under the advisement of Robert Handfield, professor of operations and supply chain management, for the MBA 541 Supply Management class.

Project Summary: We partnered with Altria, a consumer goods manufacturer, to create an interactive supplier dashboard to enable better short and long term decision-making. We collected data to determine fields for 30 direct and indirect suppliers. Altria’s vision is a live dashboard containing information on suppliers so they can strategically manage performance and capabilities. We built the dashboard using Tableau, incorporating key fields and created a detailed instructional guide to facilitate understanding of how to create/use the dashboard.

People’s Choice

People’s Choice Overall Winner: Poole Team 21 with project sponsor Studio M was selected by the audience attending the awards reception based on 90-second pitches.

Following are People’s Choice finalists and their project summaries

Poole Team 21, Team members included Harry Watson, Shannon Brown, Sydnie Newman, and Louise Shearer who won a $1,000 scholarship to share. This project was completed for the project sponsor Studio M. The team was under the advisement of Patrice Nealon, senior lecturer in marketing, for the BUS 469 Digital Marketing class.

Project Summary: Studio M is run by a hairstylist local to the RDU area. After moving to North Carolina only a couple years ago, Studio M was forced with creating a whole new book of business. In order to build awareness and drive traffic to Studio M, our team set out to design and implement a marketing campaign across Instagram and Facebook.

Poole Team 14, Team members included Ariel Latta, Gracie Patch, Tyler Smith, Shivaljali Pothan, Austin Maitin, and Tristan McKee. This project was completed for the project sponsor the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce. The project was under the advisement of Patrice Nealon, senior lecturer in marketing, for the BUS 469 Digital Marketing class.

Project Summary: We implemented a paid social media strategy for the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce that is designed to drive website traffic and event ticket sales for their event: Women > A Force in Business. We constructed a three-pronged strategy that targets two insightful target markets, while maintaining the brand essence, across three social media platforms. We used Google Analytics as well as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn analytics to analyze campaign data and make recommendations to the brand.

Poole Team 13, Team members included Garrett Fogleman, Ally Simon, Taylor LaBounty, and Emma Isaacson. This project was completed for the project sponsor The Station. The project was under the advisement of Patrice Nealon, senior lecturer in marketing, for the BUS 462 Marketing Research class.

Project Summary: In marketing research, one of the most important questions to be answered is, “How do we reach our desired customers and convince them to buy our products/services?” Our team decided to work with a new student housing community called The Station in Raleigh, NC to help them answer this question and solve their other current marketing problems. The project consists of research objectives set by the team, various methodologies used to conduct research, qualitative and quantitative findings, and our recommendations for the future of their business.

Employer of the Year

Employer of the Year: VF Corporation, a worldwide apparel and footwear company headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina that is comprised of over 30 brands. The VF Corporation has supported the experiences and successes of the students of the Poole College of Management and supported the college’s organizational values, innovations, and events throughout the years. 

Lisa Glebus, director of talent acquisition at VF, accepted the award during the event.

“VF Corporation has been a fantastic partner with NC State, consistently supporting our college in a multitude of ways, from participating in the Career and Internship Fair to wide support of initiatives reflecting our shared organizational values, such as in the areas of leadership development, innovation, diversity and inclusion, business sustainability, business analytics and supply chain management,” said Dean Buckless.

“We are truly grateful for the support VF provides to Poole College and are pleased to recognize this world-class organization as our 2019 Employer of the Year.”

This post was originally published in Poole College of Management News.