Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business

Big Apple core to learning for marketing students


It’s not your typical curriculum or classroom.

Marketing 4950-Gateway to World Markets, a three-credit hour course, convenes during Minimester A in the summer and provides an experiential learning opportunity unlike what’s taught in the classroom.

New York City serves as host to Clemson University students. Classrooms during the class begin on-campus at the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business and continue in New York City in corporate offices, boardrooms, design labs and a networking venue.

“MKT 4950 enriches students’ understanding about different facets of marketing, the importance of building relationships and enhancing the customer experience. Meetings with executives show how marketing interacts with other business functions as well as how the changing environment affects business and leadership decisions,” said Mary Anne Raymond, Professor of Marketing and Thomas F. Chapman Distinguished Professor of Leadership. Raymond added, “This class gives high visibility and brand awareness to Clemson University, the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business, and the marketing program.”

Raymond and Senior Lecturer James Gaubert said the Gateways to World Markets class is designed to put students in a good position for life after Clemson. “This stands out as one of the Department of Marketing’s most valued experiential learning opportunities. It exposes students to the diversity of career opportunities as told by alums and business professionals who not long ago were in these students’ shoes,” Gaubert said.

In order to enroll in the class and trip, students majoring in marketing must be in solid academic standing and have completed Principles of Marketing. Though course tuition covers some expenses, students must pay their airfare and personal expenses separately.

Marketing students visit JP Morgan

A highlight of the journey this year was meetings with professionals from 14 global companies (including one virtual meeting), many of which employ Clemson graduates. Firms included industry leaders such as Deloitte Digital, Madison Square Gardens, Amazon Advertising, Oliver Agency, Wunderkind, J. P. Morgan, Broadridge, St Regis Hotels and Alpha Media. Students also met with alumni in the Tri-State Clemson Club, providing them with even more connections and opportunities.

The interactive meetings with company leaders and exposure to the city itself opened students’ eyes to a metropolitan work environment, revealed the breadth of the Clemson brand and illustrated the variety of marketing opportunities that exist at those global companies.

Raymond and Gaubert estimate nearly 60 Clemson marketing graduates have either secured full-time positions or internships as a result of the annual trip. One of those is Bailey Hack, Senior Customer Success Manager at Wunderkind.  

“I never envisioned myself working in MarTech, better yet a big move to the big city, but this class literally opened a door that forever changed my career and future. I’m forever grateful for the professors who saw my potential before I could and who continue to open doors for students looking to dream big.”

Brandon Speweik, who leads Industry Sales and Strategy at GFT also commented about the trip.

“I will be forever grateful to Clemson University and the Department of Marketing for presenting me with the wonderful career path and opportunities that I’ve been fortunate enough to follow. My professors encouraged me to take the Gateways class. During one of the corporate visits, I literally said “this is what I want to do” which led me to an internship and ultimately a full-time position with that company. From there, my career progressed, and I’ve been fortunate to have incredible opportunities. Had it not been for the New York trip, there is no telling where I would be today.”

This year’s group of students networked with alumni of the class as well as other Clemson alumni and business leaders — either at their job locations or during a reception. All students were appreciative of the opportunity and commented on the value of the experience.

“Gateways to World Markets allowed me to make connections that will last a lifetime. The class opened a career path for me that I never would have expected. I was interested in industries I never thought were for me. I gained so much advice from all the knowledgeable speakers and truly think this was one of the most valuable experiences of my Clemson journey,” said Hope Wilde from Greenville, SC. “At our reception, we were able to network with alumni from all over the world. Clemson Tigers are truly there for you. MKT 4950 taught me how the Marketing topics we learn about in class apply to some of the top companies in the world. I couldn’t be more appreciative of how Clemson sets their students up for success in every aspect of life.”

Thomas Habib from Milford, N.J. had similar remarks. “Thank you for the amazing experience in NYC and connecting us with some of the most incredible people in business. I was so grateful to be a part of the Gateway to World Markets class. Being able to learn from those who I admire in their respective fields was a truly unique experience that I will value as I enter the professional world and for the rest of my life. I am also grateful to Clemson University for being able to provide this experience for myself and my peers. This opportunity further showed Clemson’s emphasis on career building and future readiness for their students.”

Expectations of students well exceed that of a traditional class, as pre- and post-event tasks are required. Students spend a week or more researching each company they visit, preparing questions for each firm, and making a presentation to the class. Students prepare professional resumes, which are given to each company. After the corporate visits, students are required to complete an exam and debrief and chronicle their experiences through written assignments.

The upper-level marketing class is also a lesson on how to dress for business, dining etiquette and a primer on navigating one of the world’s most dynamic nerve centers of business. Students said the trip’s myriad of venues were invaluable in preparing them for their careers.

As an extra benefit for students this year, Wendy York, Dean of the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business, arranged her schedule to join the class for most of the corporate meetings. Dean York commented, “It was such a privilege to be with this group of superstar students. They were well informed on the many companies we visited, asked smart questions and were so professional. Very impressive!”

Jennifer Siemens, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Marketing, agreed with these sentiments. “The Gateways to World Markets marketing class is a transformational experience for many students, who start to dream of the possibilities of making their mark on the business world and moving beyond Clemson after graduation. The power of the Paw is strong everywhere you go. Hearing from our alumni who took the class is inspirational to these future business leaders. Many alumni are paying it forward by partnering with the experience as a host company.”

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