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Jump on the Trump Bandwagon

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then DONALD TRUMP's ego must be swelling. "Apprentice"-esque courses for marketing majors are popping up all over college campuses -- at Babson College (Babson Park, MD), Laboratory Institute of Merchandising (New York, NY), and now, at the University of Buffalo (UB, Buffalo, NY).

"The Marketers" is a three-credit marketing major course created by UB adjunct professor Marc A. Adler. His class of 36 students is divided into three teams that compete in marketing projects over a span of three to five weeks. Points are awarded based on how successfully each team completes the project. The end results determine how well students do in the course.

"The idea is to give marketing majors hands-on, practical experience that they wouldn't get from classroom lectures," says Adler, who is also vice president of client services at Flynn and Friends, a Buffalo-based advertising firm. "I want students to get a real appreciation for how difficult it is to market products, and learn how it's really done."

In the first challenge, teams were given complimentary tickets to a UB women's basketball game, and were asked to boost attendance. Adler's students recruited more than 400 spectators. At press time, teams were embarking on their second project: Working with a regional Pepsi distributor and Tops Friendly Markets to design supermarket displays for a new Diet Pepsi campaign. The task? To raise product awareness by photographing faculty, administrators, and fellow students with a bottle of the new product. The winning team will be determined by the highest sales and number of people photographed.

For the final project of the course, students are required to set the price of candy bars and sell them on campus. The team with the highest profit is declared the winner. All proceeds will benefit a charity selected by students. "The Marketers" differs from "The Apprentice," however, in that students never hear the words "You're fired" or "You're hired." Instead, says Adler, "They'll have all these unique experiences and tasks they can talk about during [a job] interview. It might even give them a leg up for a job."


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