The Associate: Week Two

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Two cases down, three more to go, as well as an interview. This is the path that follows until the end of the competition for the remaining six candidates participating on The Associate. This past week both teams were presented with a case from Target Corporation. The objective for the case was:

  • How can Target better utilize technology to innovate their food strategy so their guests think of Target first when it comes to food?

Team R.O.S.E. consisting of myself, Mark Preston, and Justina Whyte came up with a number of solutions for Target Corporation after spending an exhaustive amount of time exploring the company, making onsite visits, speaking with numerous Target team members, as well as conducting online research. Team R.O.S.E. also explored the various technologies that are available on the market before reaching any conclusions and evaluated how realistic these could be implemented in the Target stores nationwide.

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The Associate: Week One

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There’s a saying “all good things must come to an end.” It seems like this phrase was the case for Team R.O.S.E. after a week of The Associate competition taking place. Team R.O.S.E. (Revealing Opportunities with Strategic Excellence) was comprised of Demontray Hawkins, myself, Mark Preston, and Justina Whyte. We all worked together from last Tuesday until this past Sunday on a case for Kane Construction, Inc. It was an extremely involved case as I personally spent many nights awake until 3:00 or 4:00 AM working on and it felt like everything else was pushed aside. Our team worked extremely well with one another as we devised a marketing strategy for the Kane Construction company, using a “separate but equal” approach. One of the assignments was to determine if the three Kane family business should form a “consolidated” approach or a “separate but equal” approach. The other part of our assignment was to determine how the company should increase their market share in the Baltimore region as they are currently based out of their new headquarters in Gaithersburg, MD.

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The Art of Networking

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With the present state of economy we are facing the worst job market since the Great Depression. I can’t stress enough the importance of networking. We are currently living in a time where it is more important who you know, rather than what you know. I am not underestimating one’s knowledge, however it is valuable to network and reach out to others. Think about the following situation, you are a business owner of a large sales company and you are looking to hire a new account executive to manage your sales accounts. You are faced with two possible options:

  1. Try to hire the best possible candidate through job postings, hiring a recruiter, and other forms of selecting the best candidate.
  2. Reach out to a few of your peers (David, Betty, and Marie) that have a large network and have affiliates with the neighboring universities where you can find an excellent candidate that is approaching graduation.

Which option would you choose? I personally would rather hire a potential candidate from the recommendations of David, Betty, or Marie.

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The Associate: Towson University’s version of The Apprentice

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The Associate is an annual competition that takes place within the College of Business and Economics at Towson University every spring semester. The competition entering its sixth season is a spin-off of The Apprentice, the well known show that Donald Trump created back in 2004. His show brings in contestants from around the world to participate in an elimination style competition. The winner acts as an apprentice to Donald as they serve as the president for one of his companies. The Associate competition is comprised of eight qualified candidates that are determined by a selection committee within the university. The eight individuals are split up into two teams as they prepare presentations, marketing plans, and other materials that are showcased at weekly boardroom style meetings. Unfortunately, each week one of the candidates will be “fired” by a panel of judges that is headed by the “Donald.” While the opportunity for the winner of The Associate isn’t to serve as an apprentice to Donald Trump, the last one standing earns a guaranteed position at the respective company of the “Donald.” The “Donald” for this year is Alan Wilson, CEO and President of McCormick and Company.

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Constructing Your Own Online Brand

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When most people are asked to think of a brand they think of the larger companies such as Apple, Coach, Honda, or others that come to mind. It is not as common for individuals to think of themselves as a brand. With an endless amount of free resources available online it is time for individuals to start viewing themselves as a personal brand. Whether you are a student, a marketing professional, or a local plumber, it is time that you effectively make use of these tools to leverage your personal brand. For example, say you are an unestablished plumber named Herbie, and you are trying to make a name for yourself. As a starting point you should purchase your own domain name to reserve space for yourself online. For the purpose of this entry the assumption is that you choose herbietheplumber as your domain name. Once you have reserved this space it is important to go ahead and create accounts using the various social networking tools using this unique name. Some of the accounts that you would then go ahead and create are as follow:

  • youtube.com/herbietheplumber
  • herbietheplumber.wordpress.com
  • facebook.com/herbietheplumber
  • twitter.com/herbietheplumber

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Documentation — Just Do It

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Nike has a marketing slogan, “Just Do It.” I believe that this applies to everyday life as well. As I recently completed the BUSX 460 Professional Experience course within the College of Business and Economics at Towson University I walked away with a valuable takeaway. This course taught me the importance of saving files and other information as I gathered tangible documentation from my entire collegiate career to create a career portfolio. For this project I collected various work assignments from my different internship experiences. Accomplishments and awards that I received in the past were also included in the portfolio. In addition to these items I incorporated articles from the various student organizations that I am actively involved in. I found it rewarding to view all of my accomplishments in an organized portfolio.

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A Different World

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We are definitely living in a different world. I almost find it hard to believe at times. With the help of a small device (I’m specifically referring to the iPhone, yet there are so many  others that have similar features) we can browse movies, manage bank activity, listen to music, among access to many other applications. Throughout my collegiate career I have become familiar with many technologies and find it remarkable that a couple of years makes all the difference. A couple of years ago I never would  have thought that I would be on a bus ride back to Baltimore listening to music, checking my email, and blogging about these changes in technology.

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