In fall 2016, 10 College of Business students walked into a seminar course titled “Professional Business Solutions” led by Scott Grant, Ed.D., assistant professor, with very little knowledge of what the course would entail. The first class began with a brief overview of what the students would do. Then, Grant stepped out of the room to allow the students to take it from there.
It was in this class that The Oiler 10 formed. The group built a student-run, faculty-mentored marketing and consulting agency. In turn, students that provided support and solutions to real businesses and organizations gained authentic hands-on experience and preparation for real life. The inaugural group built a vision, created a mission, designed a brand and ran with it.
Grant’s goal was to make the experience about more than completing projects and getting a grade. He wanted to bring real-world experience into the classroom. In Grant’s words he wanted to “bring the external, internal,” which would allow the students to expand their knowledge in how business works in one space. Grant also had student athletes in mind as they do not often have the opportunity to leave for several months to complete an internship. Participation in The Oiler 10 filled that gap.
“A lot of classes integrate external organizations and projects, but it’s so across the map, and the students often complete one project and move on,” said Grant. “The goal was to extend the students’ interaction with companies for several years while in school so that when they’re applying for jobs and need experience, they already have that.”
Grant approached the first year by reaching out to 10 students of various business majors who were recommended by faculty as students with drive and ambition. Most of the students did not know each other and had no idea what they were getting into.
“They branded themselves, built the business, and created the mission, vision and values system,” Grant explained. “They created from the ground-up operating agreements, the structure, how they wanted to share documents and more.”
Part of the course included trips to workshops and tours of companies such as Rebel Pilgrim, a creative agency in Cincinnati where the students participated in a marketing storytelling workshop. A majority of the course was spent working with the Upfield Group, founded by alumnus Mark Inkrott ‘02, in addition to solving problems and assisting with projects for several external clients including OMG…It’s Gluten Free, Body Art Protein, Right to Win, DNC Hydraulics and more. By assisting these companies and organizations, the students were able to hone in on their interests such as digital marketing, sales strategy and overall business plan organization.
“I was able to do an extensive amount of digital marketing and business development work for a start-up nutrition company located in Minnesota. This helped me grow in numerous areas,” said Rob Book ’17, marketing graduate. “As a numbers-first individual, working with this client essentially helped me realize how much I enjoy utilizing digital platforms to grow businesses and have the ability to measure results.”
Paige Johnson ‘17, sport and event management graduate, worked closely with the nonprofit organization Right to Win, a non-profit organization focused on assisting young athletes with pay-to-play fees. Her experience was a little different as she worked with the group remotely while completing an internship in Kansas City.
“Some of the main deliverables we created were an interactive map that is now featured prominently on their website and a deck that they present to potential investors,” said Johnson. “Throughout the project we interacted with one of the first athletes they sponsored, who now runs their social media and is in college. Seeing and hearing how much our client had impacted his life made all of the late hours of work worth it.”
As the number of clients and projects grew for The Oiler 10, they began to bring more students onboard. Grant utilized this opportunity to teach the class about the hiring process.
“When you’re a student, I think it’s important to understand what it’s like to write a job description and how to find quality talent,” said Grant. “We had a brainstorm session to determine what the group was looking for. They then took applications and interviewed the candidates.”
Book said The Oiler 10 was, “a 24/7 process. We are helping real clients achieve meaningful results and meet specific goals. We can’t afford to look at this as a class in which we can put the work off and only do it when we feel like it. If we slack off, it will cost our clients.”
Book thinks the hard work has paid off. With encouragement derived from The Oiler 10, he has obtained certifications in Google Analytics, Google AdWords, Hubspot, Hootsuite and others. He also had a 60-minute interview for a job, 40 of which minutes were spent talking about his time spent in The Oiler 10. Several companies he interviewed for were also fascinated with his experience in the group.
“When I was first extended the offer to join The Oiler 10, I had no idea what to expect. I simply went in knowing that I would have the opportunity to get some extra real world experience,” said Book. “It’s a great feeling to know that I will be going to work every day loving what I do. Without my experience in The Oiler 10, I don’t believe I would have discovered my passion.”
Sydney Jameson ’17, marketing and graphic design graduate, also credits The Oiler 10 for helping her find the best career path.
“The best thing about working with actual clients is communicating directly with them and helping to identify and solve their problems,” said Jameson. “Being a part of The Oiler 10 gave me a taste of the agency environment and ultimately helped me discover what I want to purse as a career path.”
Book, Johnson and Jameson graduated this year, but certainly left a footprint within The Oiler 10. Book will soon be moving to Columbus to work with development operations and analytics at Ologie, a company that helps universities across the United States share their story and build their brand. Johnson will be furthering her education at Ohio University in business and sports administration, and Jameson is continuing her internship at Rowmark in Findlay and hopes to secure a position within a marketing agency near Cincinnati.
For more information about The Oiler 10, contact Scott Grant, Ed.D. at (419) 434-6798 or email@example.com.