News from the Aurora University community

AU team takes first in national market research competition

Posted by on June 15, 2016

From left to right: Faculty advisor Brian Vander Schee, recent graduates Brett Willman, Nicholas Carroll and Christina Young, and rising senior Nicole Funk visited GfK’s Chicago offices for an “immersion day.”

A team of four Aurora University American Marketing Association (AU/AMA) students won GfK’s fifth annual Next Generation Market Research Competition. The team was recognized for its accomplishment earlier this month at the firm’s downtown Chicago office.

GfK, one of the world’s largest market research and consumer information companies, created the contest as a way to give undergraduate students in North America a chance to test their marketing and research skills and address pressing issues that face today’s marketers.

Members of the winning team are new graduates Christina Young, Brett Willman and Nicholas Carroll, and rising senior Nicole Funk. Brian Vander Schee, associate professor of marketing, advised the group.

The team’s study, “Mobilized for Success: Creating Effective Apps for Millennials,” examines if, how and why twenty-somethings use mobile apps to place orders to quick service restaurants (QSRs) like Taco Bell, Chipotle and Domino’s. The work also explores characteristics that make an effective quick-serve mobile app for Millennial consumers and how the apps can be used to further companies’ marketing goals. The team interviewed industry experts as well as surveyed users and conducted focus groups to collect data.

“I am very proud of these students and their accomplishment as a team,” said Vander Schee, adding that competitions like these are important because they provide students practical experience working for business clients and make them more competitive in job interviews and for admittance into graduate school.

“It’s nice to be recognized for our work, because we knew that the quality was high,” said team leader Christina Young, who this fall will be enrolled in

the graduate marketing program at the University of Alabama. “Everyone was dedicated to producing a good product.”

This is the second time a marketing team from Aurora University has won the five-year-old competition. In 2013, AU/AMA students won the contest with a paper exploring the media and messages directed at the emerging Hispanic market in the United States.