With homecoming finished, Ohio State is a few short weeks away from the Michigan game. To start off “Beat Michigan” week, OSU and Michigan will also go face-to-face in an arena outside of football: business.
Four of the brightest undergraduate business students in the OSU Fisher College of Business are going head-to-head with four students from Michigan’s Ross School of Business.
MtvU, MTV’s 24-hour college network, is taking the rivalry into the form of reality TV on the show “Quad Squads.” Students from each side will be pitted against one another in a business battle to promote the 2008 Ford Focus by holding a promotional event and a final presentation to Ford executives. The winners get a chance at an internship with Ford, a prize pack worth up to $5,000 each, and of course, bragging rights.
Faraz Khan, a junior in business marketing and finance, is OSU’s team captain.
“It’s an ego thing,” he said. “We’re putting our egos on the line and we want to come out on top.”
The other team members are Jessica Kleinman, a senior in marketing and international business, Christopher Sparks, a senior in marketing and psychology and Kelly Mirgon, a junior in business and marketing.
Jay Yutzey, the executive director in Undergraduate Programs at the Fisher College of Business, is behind the team.
“We’re very proud of this group of students being chosen for this marketing competition and are confident that they will represent Ohio State and Fisher with distinction,” he said.
The business and marketing competition will be judged on how well the students promote three things: the 2008 Ford Focus, the new SYNC technology that allows drivers to operate their cell phones and mp3 players just by talking to it, and the Ford student purchase program. The purchase program is designed to entice college students to become Ford owners by way of of a $500 exclusive cash bonus.
The six-week competition is in week four, and the first of the two parts is finished. The first part required each team to hold an event on its respective campuses to promote the 2008 Ford Focus.
Last Tuesday, the OSU team held “SYNC my Ride,” a promotional contest. With a budget of $2,500, the team went out and got community sponsorship, raising more than $3,000 in less than three weeks.
“There was a line going out the door,” Kleinman said. “We had to turn people away before the event even started.”
The prizes given out at the event were four iPod Nanos, 20 $25 Discover gift cards and “SYNC my Ride” T-shirts. Event-goers were also given a chance to enter the nationwide 2008 Ford Focus sweepstakes.
The second part of the competition is the final judging in early November. Teams will give a presentation of their marketing strategies in front of Ford executives. The teams will be evaluated in the final portion based on ideas, creativity and overall professionalism.
“We have been careful about what we say about Michigan, and they haven’t,” Kleinman said.
To add fuel to the fire, Michigan’s school of business is nationally higher ranked than OSU. But that does not deter the team’s Buckeye spirit.
“We’re thankful for the entire Ohio State community for coming together and helping us out,” Khan said.
Natalia Mitsui can be reached at email@example.com.