For the past six semesters, Boston University students have had a unique opportunity, the chance to enroll in the fully accredited, AMP Agency Insights Lab Incubator Course. The course is a cross-departmental think tank, dedicated to uncovering, understanding and leveraging the best ways to connect brands with consumers via the latest technology.
For the past two semesters, I’ve had the pleasure of helping mold the minds of these talented BU students. When asked to participate, a colleague shared that I would learn a ton from students and quoted the syllabus, “This course marries the digital talent of aspiring marketers with the marketing prowess of seasoned brand marketers and agency executives. And, it works because of the reciprocal learning relationship between students and the participating mentors.”
I was skeptical about the truth behind this statement. Could I actually learn from students? Isn’t it conventional wisdom that teacher helps student learn not vice versa.
My skepticism waned immediately after the first day. Since that day, I have learned 3 important lessons.
1. Lesson #1: Diverse perspective lead to great ideas.
We view participants in the Insights Lab Incubator as the next generation of marketing leaders. Because at AMP we understand that the future of marketing is in the hands of these aspiring marketers. As such, we encourage healthy dialogue and debate around marketing and business challenges – starting each class with a discussion around “this week in marketing.” We expect students to keep up-to-date on the latest and greatest within the marketing world, and be prepared to vocalize their perspective. To encourage discussion outside the classroom, we have a Tumblr-esque sites where students can post interesting articles and comment with their opinions.
For me, the lesson here resides in always encouraging healthy debate among all departments, interests, skillsets and levels because diverse perspective lead to best solutions.
2. Lesson #2: Environment dictates behavior.
We treat class like a client relationship. Therefore, we hold course participants to the same expectations as agency employees.
By treating class like a client assignment, we give these aspiring marketing leaders the chance to gain real agency-world experience. Because, how can we solve business problems different if we are all reading the same book?
Similar to how this class defies conventional approaches to get to the desired outcome, marketers and agency professionals should consider the end goal and the best way to achieve it instead of relying on the tried and true processes and procedures.
3. Lesson #3: It’s all about relationships.
To us, the Insights Lab Incubator Course is a stellar recruitment platform. Throughout the 13 week course, students are establishing relationships with agency professionals, learning more about a day-in-the-life of various departments to help identify potential career paths. Our HR team is readily available to answer questions and to schedule mock or informational interviews.
Students also have the opportunity to build relationships with brand marketers. We partner with an AMP client to issue a real-world marketing challenge to students. At the end of the semester, students present their integrated marketing proposal to the client contact. Clients have been known to hire students post-presentation.
Every interaction can lead to a new opportunity.
While those are the 3 lessons I learned as an adjunct professor, hear from a former student about their key takeaways from the course