Business students at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business Administration are partnering with Lincoln Industries in a class project to help the company reevaluate its marketing strategies in the chroming industry. It’s the first time CBA and Lincoln Industries have collaborated on a project.
“The students will help Lincoln Industries find new markets and analyze which would be most advantageous to enter,” said Steve Welton, assistant professor of practice in marketing, who teaches the special topics in marketing class along with Dr. Dwayne Ball, department chair and associate professor of marketing. “They’ll work as their own marketing department for Lincoln Industries and make recommendations they can hopefully use. That’s something you don’t get in the classroom.”
Casey Magnus (in yellow) tours Lincoln Industry with CBA students
The students recently toured Lincoln Industries to experience the metal plating process which has helped make the company a major player in the industry. The next step for students will be researching costs, markets and growth opportunities to present to company executives.
“It’s exciting to tour a company like this,” said Casey Magnus, a junior from Eagan, Minn., majoring in marketing and management with a human resource specialization. “We’re finding out about a new industry and learning how to apply product research to their current marketing concepts.”
Melissa Dragoo, a junior supply chain management major from Scottsdale, Ariz., took a similar class last year working with Union Pacific executives. She has learned each company is unique.
“The challenge will be to understand chroming, metal plating materials and the chemistry behind it,” said Dragoo. “The company needs more than a PowerPoint presentation. They need facts about new market possibilities, and we need to be prepared to talk to them about it in detail.”
She believes her experiences at CBA are preparing her to work anywhere.
Melissa Dragoo (left) learns metal plating at Lincoln Industries
“Whenever we get a chance to work with different industries it gives me the opportunity to get a more well-rounded education, and as outsiders to Lincoln Industries we bring a fresh perspective to analyzing their business and marketing plans,” Dragoo said.
Tom Hance, president of Lincoln Industries, agrees student participation is a positive for his company.
“Young minds think creatively in ways we might not see as professionals, because we can become entrenched in what we do,” Hance said. “We want these students to drive our company forward in ways we might not have considered. We also believe Lincoln Industries is a great place to work, and there are students in this class who might want to work for us someday.”
Welton believes the reciprocal relationship is ideal for both sides.
“The students have access to the Lincoln Industries senior management who are guiding the project. They will give valuable feedback to the students as they make their recommendations both in the presentation style and the content of the recommendations. It’s a tremendous opportunity and gives students a practical avenue to apply what they’ve learned to a real business,” he said.