April 28, 2015
Ashley Huggins, a senior marketing major from Parkersburg, West Virginia, started out her college years as a psychology major. But she quickly realized it wasn’t for her.
“I liked learning about the interesting nature of the field, but I knew that it wasn’t something I could see myself doing every day for the rest of my life,” Huggins said. “But coming from a family full of business owners on both sides, I figured it was in my blood to change my focus to study within the College of Business and Economics.
Huggins switched to the business school where she became a marketing major, and soon got to working in teams with her peers in every one of her marketing classes and making new college friends. By her third semester in the program, she knew everyone in her class.
“Being in the marketing department actually makes going to class a fun thing to do, since I got to see all of my friends and the teachers make it interesting by making it relevant,” Huggins said. “Getting into special classes was also a great experience, such as the inside sales competition course with Dr. Mike Walsh where we got to work with PNC Bank, visit its headquarters in Pittsburgh and present our strategic plan for them.
“Participating in these special classes, as well as student organizations, is so important for business students to make the connections they need for the future. It takes a lot of dedication and a lot of hard work to get active outside of what I need to do for my classes sometimes, but knowing that I’m doing the right things for my future is very rewarding.”
During her junior year, she decided to get involved with the WVU Marketing Club which provided her with some networking opportunities with her peers and others interested in the field of marketing – but the experience just wasn’t what she had expected.
“A few of my classmates and friends from the marketing department got together and decided to do something with the club this year, to give it an extra burst of energy,” Huggins said. “We really wanted to look back on our senior years and know that we made the club the best that it could be.”
After getting elected to the executive board during the first meeting, Huggins and the rest of the board got to work. There are now an estimated 80 members that participate in the student organization, compared to fewer than 20 the previous year.
“We had a goal for about 40 members last semester, and we ended up doubling our goal,” Huggins said. “Our advisor, Dr. Paula Fitzgerald, has always told us to provide the most value for the members, so I think that is what we tend to remember when we are planning events and workshops for our members: to give people the tools that will either help them in the present day or give them something to look back on.”
In the past year, the Marketing Club has hosted speakers that give lessons to current members on up-and-coming marketing jobs and various skills that students should master. Most recently, the organization hosted a speaker from Northwestern Mutual who gave the members career advice, as well as tips on what to prepare for as a senior, who is looking for a job in the marketing field and what kinds of lists to make in order to get organized.
In addition, Huggins said she worked with Jennifer Bellucci and Susan Robison of the Center for Career Development throughout the year in order to have unique access to marketing internships, since there are often employers who request Marketing Club members specifically for certain internships and projects.
The organization also participated in two different case competitions that they worked on with Dr. Fitzgerald in which members got one day to create and present a strategy for a case with a local Morgantown business. Other events include field trips to marketing-centric businesses.
“By planning all of these different events, it was not only good for the members but also for us, the executive board,” Huggins said. “I learned so much for the future in terms of how to lead and how to get myself organized. It’s one thing being organized for yourself and your own college courses, but it’s a whole different ballgame when you know that people are relying on you to be organized and to communicate effectively with students, professors, special guests and employers.”
Huggins sees a bright future for the WVU Marketing Club, as next year’s executive board was elected in the fall of last year, giving them a full school year to shadow current board members and prepare for their year of administration.
“The neat thing about electing next year’s board in the previous year is that they are really getting to know each other and learning how to communicate with one another, so that they can be really comfortable working together once they take office this fall,” Huggins said. “I think the current board is able to work so well together in that way since we were all friends when we got elected together, and we wanted to give them a similar chance at that. They’re getting to see our successes and our mistakes, which prepares them even more to do the things next year that we didn’t get the chance to do this year.”