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March 6, 2014
Students enrolled in Northwest Missouri State University’s Knacktive program traveled to four professional agencies Feb. 21 to job shadow with real-world experts whose jobs mimic the roles students in the course are expected to complete.
Knacktive is an advanced, undergraduate course that mimics the professional agency experience. The elective course is designed to replicate the creative demands and intense teamwork atmosphere of a technology-oriented, professional marketing communications agency.
The students sat beside their real-world counterparts to observe and ask questions of the professionals to better perform their specific tasks for Knacktive.
Students assigned the role of strategic planners traveled to Meers Advertising in Kansas City, while students who perform the duties of project manager, art director, graphic designer and interactive/digital manager traveled to VML in Kansas City. Student media managers, public relations managers and copywriters traveled to Bozell and Mutual of Omaha, both in Omaha.
Knacktive students left the job shadow process with a variety of ideas and new knowledge to perform together, including professional perspectives on team management, project structuring, interdisciplinary cooperation, technical roles and creative strategic thinking.
Bozell is an independent, employee-owned agency in Omaha, Neb. Founded in 1921, some of its most famous campaigns include “Pork, the Other White Meat” and the Milk Moustache campaign.
Meers Advertising is a digital marketing and advertising agency that serves health care, food, entertainment and legal services companies. Recent clients include Blue Cross Blue Shield, Assurant and United Way.
VML is an international, full-service digital marketing and advertising agency headquartered in Kansas City that partners with Northwest in a variety of disciplines. It regularly hires Northwest alumni for its internships and for full-time career positions.
Students visited Mutual of Omaha to learn from its in-house, full-service marketing agency, which is responsible for producing and promoting its long-running Wild Kingdom series, as well as its community outreach and service programs around the globe.
Students selected for Knacktive actively refine their creative abilities, collaborative skills and academic knowledge with the objective of improved competitiveness in the professional marketplace after graduation. At the same time, Knacktive answers a need identified by business leaders for students who understand working in a competitive, creative team environment.
Students experience a realistic, agency-like atmosphere as they work with multiple teammates on a promotional campaign plan for a real client. The competing teams conduct research, analyze the data, devise a strategy, formulate tactics and ultimately make a formal presentation of their plan to the client. Teams select names that reflect the team’s goals as well as the client for the year.
This year’s Knacktive client is Northwest’s Horace Mann Laboratory School. The student teams are working with Horace Mann administrators and faculty to enhance the school’s marketing efforts and to help the community understand the important role Horace Mann plays in educating area children.
Knacktive faculty members who supervised and organized the job shadow event are Steven Chappell, communication and mass media; Chris Graves, fine and performing arts; Carol Spradling, computer science and information systems; Dave Shadinger, communication and mass media; and Deb Toomey, business.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468