Tyler Couse, a first year student in the NC State Poole College of Management, put his high school DECA and NC State American Marketing Association experiences to work, helping his team win the inaugural AMA Triangle Marketing Jam competition held in February. That win earned him a share of the $2,000 prize and qualified him to give a presentation at the professional AMA Chapter’s recent High Five Conference.
Couse, who is majoring in business administration with an intended concentration in marketing, was the youngest member of the team that included two students from Elon University and one from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The Marketing Jam competition, organized by the professional American Marketing Association’s Triangle Chapter provides university students in the Triangle and Triad an opportunity to participate in an interactive, real-world simulation by addressing a business problem with a marketing solution. Their challenge this year was to make recommendations on messaging and marketing responding to the question: “How do you raise awareness of the health risks of opioid abuse among college students and activate them to seek appropriate support?”
An initial competition was held February 24 at Walk West in Raleigh, where the students were randomly separated into teams from various schools, Couse said in an email interview with Poole College communications. The teams were then tasked with developing a presentation and submitting collateral pitching their creative solution to the challenge.
Couse noted that he was the only student participant who was not a senior. That proved to be an asset, though, as he was able draw on his high school DECA experiences “to help my team be successful,” he said.
DECA provides its student members opportunities to compete in business and marketing events. Couse said that he had competed and placed internationally in DECA competitions, including events similar to the AMA Triangle Marketing Jam challenge. “I was glad I was able to bring some of that experience to the table,” he said.
Couse also credits his involvement in the NC State AMA Chapter. “My membership in NC State’s AMA chapter definitely contributed to the skillset I was able to bring to the competition. I’ve been an active member since the beginning of last semester and I have already had many opportunities for professional development, and have learned so much about the world of marketing.
The teams had about five hours to develop a solution to the problem posed, including associated marketing methods and a presentation.
“We worked persistently up until our deadline, then presented our ideas to a panel of judges for 20 minutes, and answered questions for 10 minutes,” he said. In addition to the cash prize, the team had an opportunity to present their ideas at the High Five Conference on March 25, which Couse did.
“This competition was a great opportunity for me,” Couse said. “Not only was I able to gain some practical experience by solving an actual problem with marketing solutions, but was subsequently able to network with many different marketing professionals. This experience strongly reinforced my passion for marketing and my outlook in regard to a career in the field. I will surely be pursuing more competitions and opportunities like this in the future,” he said.
Couse also said he was “very thankful for this opportunity and all of the volunteers that helped to make the competition successful. They were all extremely kind and made the process highly enjoyable. I’m also very thankful for my team for being such a joy to work with and for giving me chance even though I’m a freshman. They actually admitted to me that they were concerned at first about what I could bring to the table, but that those worried quickly disappeared once we started working.
“I highly encourage others to compete in competitions like these, no matter what your major is. In fact, if anyone is considering a marketing concentration I would encourage them to join me next year at the second annual Marketing Jam competition. You never know what you might learn, and who you might meet,” he said.