By Kelsey Wagner
BSBA Marketing ’12
The annual Thinking Forward Conference, presented by the Department of Marketing, brought together students and industry leaders in branding and technology marketing for a day of networking and presentations. “It’s exciting for the students to see how their coursework translates into the real world,” said Liz Howard, who coordinates the event for the department.
The conference hosted five guest speakers spanning research and industry in the field of marketing. Eller College alumni Brian Gentile (BSBA Marketing ‘85) and Gregory Rosborough (BSBA Marketing and Entrepreneurship ‘06) joined professor Jakki Mohr of the University of Montana-Missoula, professor Aric Rindfleisch of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and David Yuan, vice president of global industries marketing withIBM Corporation.
Gentile is CEO and president of San Francisco-based, open-source business intelligence software firmJaspersoft. Gentile discussed the future of marketing technology and encouraged MIS and tech-savvy audience members to always be thinking of the next step in both technology and the business world.
Mohr discussed challenges in technology marketing, emphasizing how innovation has changed the process of strategic planning, which needs to be flexible enough to accommodate ongoing shifts in technology.
Rosborough shared his personal story of launching his McGuire Entrepreneurship Program venture, uGallery.com, and following his dream to become a menswear designer for Polo Ralph Lauren. Rosborough credits his presentation skills and marketing degree with differentiating him when he was one of many Fashion Institute of Technology students competing for a single Ralph Lauren internship position—which he won, and then turned into a full-time position.
Conference honoree and undergraduate marketing student Ryan Jacobs said one of the most valuable pieces of advice he walked away with from Rosborough’s talk was something Rosborough’s father told him: “Just work hard enough that they can’t get rid of you.”
“The speakers did a wonderful job of providing beneficial information across several marketing industries—especially technology,” added Jacobs. “Technology is so influential in today’s society, especially to our generation, and marketers have almost endless possibilities in the development of customer-business relationships.”
Yaun’s talk illustrated this: he traced the evolution of the IBM brand from its start at the turn of the 20th century as a high-tech developer of punch cards all the way up to its transformation to a leading B2B company that continues to innovate.
Mid-morning, the conference hosted a networking breakout session where students were given the chance to speak one-on-one with the presenters. The event culminated with an awards presentation to Eller undergraduate and MBA students who excel in aspects of academic, professional, and personal life.
The Thinking Forward Award was presented to two undergraduate students, Lindsey Erlick and Whitney Freese, and two MBA students, Kelly Cummings and Kevin Wittner. The recipients were chosen based on their academic achievement, leadership, professional experience, and volunteer activities.
Undergraduates Ryan Jacobs and Monica Yanine, and MBA students Marco Kiesewetter and Dale Prentiss, were recognized with the Eller Leadership in Marketing award. This award is given to students in recognition of their proven skills in leadership and contributions to the marketing community. “It was a great honor and validates the hard work I’ve put into advancing my skill set here at Eller,” Prentiss said.
Finally, Wilson Bastos was awarded the Lisle and Roslyn Payne Outstanding Ph.D. Student Award for his accomplishments in the doctoral program. Bastos was recognized for his independent and innovative research, commitment to success in teaching, and ability to lead.