Loyola University Chicago

Quinlan School of Business

Students honored at international marketing competition

Students honored at international marketing competition

The “ALIS” team from left: Lea Oedzes, Anna Tonarely, Irene Huang, and Shelby Koch.

By Monica Sather | Student reporter

Quinlan undergraduate and graduate students were recently recognized for their strong marketing skills in the Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge hosted by Marketing EDGE, an educational nonprofit committed to helping college students prepare for careers in marketing.

Two teams of Quinlan undergraduates, mentored by Professor Jenna Drenten, PhD, and a graduate team, mentored by Professor Mary Ann McGrath, PhD, bested over 200 other international teams to advance to the competition’s semi-final round, in which both Quinlan undergraduate teams earned recognition among the top five undergraduate teams.

“Their success in this year's competition is a testament to the caliber, commitment, and creativity of our Quinlan marketing students,” says Drenten. “Doing so well in an international marketing competition is an incredible and well-deserved honor for my students, and I could not be more thrilled.”

The teams build on the many awards and recognitions that Quinlan has earned over the 32-year history of the Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge. 

Creating a pitch

The aim of the Collegiate ECHO Marketing Challenge is to create and pitch a marketing campaign to a leading brand. In past years, sponsors have included Facebook, Microsoft Bing, and DIRECTV.

This year, the participants were tasked with crafting a marketing campaign for travel company Collette targeting Generation X consumers. The students were given a theoretical budget of $5 million.

Professor Drenten challenged all of the students in her Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) course in spring 2017 to participate in the competition, and Professor McGrath’s students competed as a part of her IMC Campaigns class.

The students interviewed Gen Xers, analyzed tourism industry trends, developed key consumer insights, designed campaigns, and created three-minute pitch videos summarizing their campaigns.

The students submitted their pitches along with campaign reports in May, and then over the summer, senior professionals from across the marketing industry served as judges to determine the finalists from more than 200 entries. From the semifinalists, judges from Collette selected the top awardees, which were announced in July. 

Among the top awardees were undergraduate team “X Markets the Spot,” which received an honorable mention in the Market Research, Executive Summary, and Visual Summary category, and their classmates on the “ALIS” team, which received an honorable mention for Market Research, Marketing Strategy and Creative Strategy.

Testament to Quinlan’s caliber

For the students, participating in the challenge was an exciting opportunity to apply what they have learned in the classroom about developing strategy-driven IMC campaigns. 

“Each step of the way, we gained new skills including proper research methods, creative tactics, and video production,” says Margret Sittig, a member of the X Markets the Spot team. “Competing against schools across the world was an incredible opportunity made possible through an amazing professor and business school.”

The competition was a positive experience for both the students and the mentors.

“This was the first time I have ever mentored students for this competition,” says Drenten. “Without a doubt, these students have set the bar extremely high.” 

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