The University of Richmond chapter of the American Marketing Association took 20 students to Washington, D.C. in the last week of September to meet with alumni and learn about the marketing and communications industry in the region. 

“We’ve been wanting to take a trip like this for a while,” said Brandon West, ’19, president of the organization. “Career Services hosts a trip to New York, which is great, but we have such a large alumni base in Washington D.C. that we wanted our members to be able to explore their options in other cities.”

The group met with alumni and faculty connections at DC United, FP1 Strategies, and the Washington Post. The group toured the DC United arena, and met with the soccer team’s senior director of corporate sponsorships. At FP1 Strategies, a public policy and political advertising agency, the students met with Hunter Ross, ’16, senior associate for public affairs.

“It was a unique experience to visit an organization like FP1, which focuses on politics and public policy, and see marketing in a different environment,” West said.

Then, the group visited Jacquelyn Cameron, ’02, vice president of client solutions at the Washington Post.

“She gave us a tour of their department, and talked about how they approach marketing and technology,” West said.

Overall, he and the other students agreed the trip gave them a snapshot of what it would be like to work in the marketing industry in D.C.

“We learned that there are so many different things you can do with a marketing degree,” West said. “People typically think of advertising or branding, but we saw how marketing applies in all of these different fields like athletics, corporate sponsorship, and politics.”

Bill Bergman, instructor in marketing, accompanied the students on the trip along with Shelley Burns, director of career programs in business, and Sara-Kate Parker, assistant director and career advisor in career services for the University.

“Anytime we can get our marketing students in front of professional marketing practitioners it is a good thing. This trip reinforced many of the topics we discuss in the classroom,” Bergman said of the trip.

He believes interacting with alumni in the professional world can have a stronger impact on students than just learning about professions in the classroom.

“Engagement with professionals is more credible when students see them in office environments,” Bergman said. “Besides the educational benefits, we expose companies to Robins students. This increases the Robins School’s awareness with potential employers and helps improve the Richmond brand in the marketplace.”

The University of Richmond AMA chapter hopes to make this an annual trip, to encourage its members to explore the Washington, D.C. area and industry.

“We learned so much more about the marketing industry, there are so many aspects that it’s hard for us to talk about or show just in our weekly meetings,” West said. “This trip gives a hands-on experience, and helps us establish and nurture our connections in the D.C. area.”