By Pauline Stamp, PhD
Assistant Professor of Business Administration
My mission is to transform lives: That’s what motivates me to develop teaching strategies that engage students in practical and challenging learning experiences.
In my classroom, it’s not about grades; it’s about learning. It’s not about homework; it’s about preparing students to handle the complex teamwork and communication demands they will face as professionals.
When students come to my class, they come to work for my “company.” I am their CEO and they are employees. From day one, I challenge them to think differently about why they are here and what they want to get out of their Hartwick College experience. I challenge them to go beyond just learning about business to doing a deep dive into real decision-making as business professionals. As Marcus Hudson ’18 recalls, “Professor Stamp pushed us out of our comfort zone until we felt comfortable tackling any obstacle in business.”
For 14 weeks, my students are immersed in learning by interning with a business to tackle the kind of assignments that they are likely to face in a professional setting. My priorities include helping them understand that their college education is an investment in themselves and their future success.
Students quickly learn that return on investment (ROI) is not their course grade or even their final transcript; rather, it’s a fully developed career portfolio with samples of work completed during their years at Hartwick. In the process, they learn how to interact effectively with business owners and recruiters—how to make a strong first impression that they can back up with a robust portfolio and a persuasive elevator pitch.
Internships are the centerpiece of BUSA 350, Social Media Marketing (SMM). In this J Term course, students work as junior social media marketing consultants for real small businesses. After consulting with their clients, the interns develop an SMM plan that addresses the client’s social media needs. With each assignment, students learn to manage matrix-reporting relationships, keep meeting minutes, and collaborate with business owners who have very little time but high expectations.
Students conduct meetings using camera-to-camera technology, work within deadlines, and deal with rejection and criticism—all skills they will need after graduation. At the end of the semester, they present their SMM plans to their clients with the goal of getting an internship offer and implementing their plans.
To date, 90% of Hartwick’s Social Media Marketing students have received internship offers, and several of those have led to full-time employment upon graduation. This year, our clients included alumni: Stella Spanakos ’78, co-founder of The Nicholas Center, and Joanne Georges ’17, project manager with Vara Safety.
Feedback from alumni and clients continues to be a reliable measure of our success. Allie Ricci ’18 says, “The guidance of internships led me to become the director of marketing and social media for a creative marketing company at the age of 22.”
I am convinced that graduating students are greatly strengthened by exposure to real-life, immersive internships during their time at Hartwick College. Lives are being transformed.