Bauer team wins global competition
A team made of four MBA students from the C.T. Bauer College of Business have been recognized as the new global winners of the 2011 Google Online Marketing Challenge.
The all-female team, comprised of Erin Blatzer, Lauren Davis, Jeffrei Clifton and Carolina Thomas, ranked number one in this year’s competition.
More than 35,000 undergraduate and graduate students from 68 countries split up into 4,429 teams and tested their skills in areas such as advertising, e-commerce, integrated marketing communication, management information systems, marketing and a variety of new media technologies via Google’s own AdWords marketing system.
The Bauer team’s victory marks the first time a team from the Americas has won the global challenge title since the competition’s debut in 2008.
“It is not my win. I’m just a witness. It is a validation of the excellent job they have done,” said Steven Koch, executive professor and director of Bauer’s Consulting Lab.
In order to come up with a team for the contest, Koch reviewed applications from former students who had previously taken his Internet Marketing class, a course that focuses on e-commerce and emphasizes on the function of AdWords.
Another one of the main purposes of the Google challenge is to enable students to demonstrate their marketing expertise by promoting a local business or non-government organization.
Using the $200 budget provided by Google, the team employed the AdWords system to make an effective marketing campaign for a non-government organization.
Their efforts paid off as the team was also awarded the third place NGO Impact Award, winning $5000 that was donated to the NGO of their choice, the Houston Symphony.
Jeffrei Clifton, a former undergrad student from LSU, said that the challenge was one of those life-changing experiences that she was happy to have been part of while studying at Bauer.
“Just to have Bauer’s name associated with a company like Google and to be global winners, that is just huge for the University of Houston and also for the Houston Symphony,” says Clifton.
This is not the first time though that UH has been recognized in the competition. Last year, the first team from Bauer to enter the competition was a semi-finalist, finishing in the top 100.
The four MBA students who competed in last year’s competition took the time to coach the winners of this year’s contest.
“We are definitely interested in giving our expertise for next year’s team and keep the young people interested in AdWords,” said Lauren Davis, a former undergrad from Duke University.
As part of the challenge’s prize, the team will be travelling in late September with their mentor Koch to San Francisco, Calif.
There, they will head to Google’s headquarters, Google Plex, to meet with AdWords’ creator and deliver a presentation.
“I think that our participation in the Challenge demonstrates that Bauer has great professors, like professor Steve Koch, who are looking to the future and teaching their students tools that will be valuable in real-life situations,” said Thomas, a former University of Texas undergrad, in an email.
“It also demonstrates that the University has capable students who can compete on a global level with a company like Google and win.”
Erin Blatzer, a former undergrad student from St. Thomas University who will be receiving her MBA from Bauer in December, said that she was recognized by her classmates on her first day back to school.
“It gives you proof that UH’s Bauer is number one in Internet marketing in the world,” Blatzer said in regards to their win.
“It also speaks about the quality of education at UH.”