In March, Merkle and Howard University School of Business joined forces to host the first Business Case Competition sponsored by Merkle. This competition challenged the brightest young business minds at Howard who are interested in analytics and data to tackle real-time scenarios facing businesses today. The students were placed in a mock scenario where they are the marketing executive for a premium sports apparel company tasked with convincing the Board of Directors that they have a strategy to thrive when new consumer data privacy regulations go into force this year.  

The challenge leveraged data from dentsu Strategy's survey analysis and Merkle's DataSource database, providing an opportunity for students to consider whether such data privacy regulations are a positive or negative for businesses, consumers, and society. The competition was unique as it challenged students to wrestle with unknowns, formulate strategies, make recommendations and be persuasive.  

“Through the business case competition, Merkle and Howard University School of Business have committed to creating opportunities for diverse and talented students to tackle real-world challenges in analytics and data. This partnership is a testament to the power of collaboration in advancing diversity and inclusion in the business world”, said Kirt Morris, Chief Equity Officer of Merkle Americas.

This is the first of its kind and surely won’t be the last. This partnership between Merkle and Howard University School of Business will continue to present exciting opportunities for students in the future.

Howard University's Dr. Bennet also commented on the initiative: "The Howard + Merkle Marketing Analytics challenge was a great learning experience for our students. The event allowed our marketing students to move beyond reservoirs passive learning (i.e., reading articles and books, and even my lectures) to applying the knowledge they’ve gained to real world problems. Created specifically by Merkle executives for this event, the case and problems Merkle asked them to address dealt with contemporary issues within the marketing analytics landscape. This was especially significant because the fact that the case was “alive” meant that the students could not look up what others were doing or had done in the past. Each student group had to work together to build solutions. And their solutions were great. The students' knowledge of current trends within society, politics, and entertainment allowed them to bring new and exciting solutions to the problem at hand. If nothing else, this was an exemplar of the value that diversity of thought brings to the table. 

An important aspect of the program that cannot be overlooked is the boot camp portion. Here, the students were given an in-depth understanding of Merkle, the marketing analytics industry, and the regulations and other conditions. The students’ interactions and insights learned from these industries leaders is invaluable. Several students left stating that they wanted to pursue internships and employment with the firm. Overall, the program successfully provided the students with the hands-on experience needed to bridge the gap between what is learned in the classroom and what is practiced within the workforce. It was a huge success, and we look forward to making this a new Howard tradition."

Learn more about Merkle and potential job opportunities here.