An often-overlooked piece of a college education is taking what’s learned in the classroom and implementing those lessons into real-life scenarios.
But that’s not a concern for Lehigh University seniors Jeanne Tong, an environmental engineering major; Tom Pacelle, an industrial engineering major; and Sara Grogan, a chemical engineering major. The three are currently enrolled in Lehigh’s Integrated Business and Engineering program and are working as a team on their shared capstone project.
As part of the program, the trio has been tasked to work with a Lehigh Valley-based startup, advising its leadership on the marketing, financial and economic planning, and technical and economic feasibility of the new products or services it is pursuing.
The semester-long course ends with Tong, Pacelle and Grogan completing written reports and oral presentations to their assigned company, which outlines the students’ findings and recommendations for moving forward.
The course is a good example of bridging the gap between classroom and real world learning, but this particular group wanted to take their real-world lessons a step further.
On October 12, Tong, Pacelle and Grogan visited the Altitude Marketing offices to speak with President Andrew Stanten and get his input on the project. They wanted to ensure that the marketing strategy of their overall plan is on track and wanted to get advice from a tenured professional early in the semester in case any big adjustments needed to be made.
During the October 12th meeting, the students introduced the company to Stanten and provided him the company’s product and their proposed plan. From there, they were able to solicit Stanten to ensure their plan was on solid footing before presenting the final business plan to the business’ leadership in December.
Stanten advised the students to think more broadly and digitally as he provided a real-world gut check, insight on budgets, and weighed in on the pros and cons of certain tactics they were thinking of recommending the company pursue. He also discussed implementing an SEO strategy, offering online product promotion via remarketing and online advertising, and suggested the team offer up an online focus group to better understand the demographics of potential buyers.
“As a Lehigh University MBA and as someone who loves to stoke the entrepreneurial fire, I really enjoy being able to give back in this way,” said Stanten. “I’ve been around the IBE program for almost 15 years – going back to my days when I worked at Lehigh prior to launching Altitude. Working with students and supporting the IBE program is something I hope to do for many years to come.”
Stanten, who earned his MBA from Lehigh, has a long history of giving back to the university in this way. In addition to serving as a judge for the IBE capstone projects every year, he serves as a guest lecturer for an integrated marketing class and taught a marketing basics course for the Small Business Development Center. He also served as Lehigh’s director of university communications from 2001 – 2004 before founding Altitude.