May 9, 2018
Students place third in international marketing contest
A team of Upper St. Clair High School sophomores placed third at the Cultural Communications Alliance's Marketing Competition on May 1, 2018, at the University of Pittsburgh's College of Business Administration. Team members include Shanthi Krishnaswamy, Gabi Spina, Jami Stout, Sunny Chai and Eri Hayakawa.
According to its website, the Cultural Communications Alliance works with Pittsburgh area high school teachers to introduce international business concepts to their students using an international case competition. Upper St. Clair students, who were coached by Spanish Teacher Joanna Darakos, worked throughout the year to research and create the plan.
“This competition was an authentic experience on how to create a marketing plan,” Ms. Darakos said. “What they had to do is what companies have to do in the real world: research demographics, explore existing products, investigate distribution logistics.”
The seven teams in the competition were tasked with developing a marketing strategy for GNC TriFlex. The target market was Germany.
“Not only have these competitors learned about marketing a product to Germany, but they've also learned how to delegate responsibilities,” Ms. Darakos added. “This team was proactive and very responsible about updating or changing any information based on my recommendations. I believe this is why we placed in the top three.”
In total, seven teams participated. First and second place honors went to Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School and PIne-Richland High School, respectively.
Ms. Darakos credits these types of authentic learning experiences with helping students choose a career path.
“Many former students who have participated in this competition have gone on to major in business and marketing as undergraduates,” Ms. Darakos said. “Furthermore, these experiences help students understand how culture can affect a company's approach to selling a product in a new country.”
The Cultural Communications Alliance works in cooperation with the International Business Center, the Global Studies Center, and the University Center for International Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, Chorus Call, and other entities to create and administer the events and competition.