UMass Dartmouth students provide valuable help to local businesses

The Center for Marketing Research (CMR) held its semi-annual Client Dinner where students delivered semester-long research projects to clients.

Students at bi-annual market research dinner

The UMass Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research (CMR) held its semi-annual Client Dinner in the Charlton College of Business learning pavilion on December 6, 2018. The dinner saw students delivering semester-long research projects to clients. Student teams worked with The Inc. 500, The Charlton College of Business, UMass Dartmouth Athletics, EDI, Lantz Law, The Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, Coastline Elderly Services, The Institute of Advanced Sciences, BayCoast Bank, and Eagle Stainless Tube & Fabrication, Inc.

Each student team sat at a private table with their client and shared the findings of these customized studies.

“Whenever there’s experiential projects done [by students] it’s just terrific, based on what I’ve seen, the student performance on these projects is just outstanding,” said Kathryn Carter, Dean of the Charlton College of Business.

“I’ve used Price Waterhouse… and the return on these projects are better. When students are out collecting data, people actually want to help them. The ROI is immense,” said David Slutz, CEO of Potentia Business Solutions.

“We have a study done by students every two years. The reason we keep coming back is the quality. The work is so professional and the feedback is great especially the open responses. We will be audited on this study and use this information in our certifications, that’s how meaningful it is,” said Bob Bubencik, VP of Operations, Eagle Stainless Tube & Fabrication, Inc.

In total, 10 projects were conducted using a range of different methods. Students worked in the field using intercepts while others held focus groups or conducted telephone surveys or collected surveys online using Qualtrics. The Marketing Research class, Focus Group class, and graduate students assigned to projects as a whole worked over 1,500 hours during the fall semester to collect thousands of surveys and qualitative research.

Each research study presented to the clients is valued between $15,000 and $20,000. Through the CMR research program, all clients were able to get this work at deeply discounted prices.

“There is nothing more valuable for these students than having a real-world business experience,” said Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes, director of the program.  

Several members of the CMR Advisory Board were also in attendance, including David Slutz (Potentia Business Solutions), Andrea Rodrigues (Bank Five), Helene Sousa (Colonial Beverage), Berta Varao (New Bedford Credit Union), Rhonda Veugen (Buzzards Bay Coalition), Melanie Gouveia (First Citizens’ Federal Credit Union), Paul Burke (Hadley Insurit Group), Nicole Almeida (BayCoast Bank), and Traci McNeil (SouthCoast Health System).

After dinner, the students had an opportunity to tell their clients about the many challenges they faced during the course of their projects. They were also quite vocal about their ideas to help the client succeed. Virtually all clients commented on the knowledge and enthusiasm of their student research team.

The program repeats in the upcoming spring semester. Any business interested in becoming a client can call Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes directly at 508-999-8756.

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