The Grady College tried something new last week with our friends at Moxie Interactive: an afternoon workshop for public relations and advertising seniors and a few grad students, along the lines of the social media bootcamps we tried a few times in the late '00s (remember when you used to have to explain what a tweet was? If you don't, please don't answer that), but on a smaller scale. It worked out well, and I'm sure we'll do it again, so it might be worth considering for your school.
First, Moxie told us to recruit 25 students (five teams of five). Dr. Karen King and I used an application process with a short deadline, which for whatever reason seemed to produce uniformly good applicants. We asked the students to provide the names of three advertising or PR professors who could serve as references, and we required them to be close to graduation so that they would've had a majority of their required classes already. We relied heavily on reference checks to decide on the final 25.
On the big day, the professionals from Moxie came over for lunch, and then introduced the challenge: selling fitness tech as Valentine's Day gifts (the workshop was on Valentine's Day) with a $1 million budget. We assigned the students to mixed teams of both PR and advertising students, and each team went to a breakout session with a Moxie pro, who walked the team through one aspect of putting a campaign together -- strategy, for example, or metrics. Then the teams rotated around so that they had a few minutes with each professional (I think it was supposed to be 10 minutes each but they tended to want to stick around longer). Finally, each team had 40 minutes to put together a presentation with their ideas.
Here's what stunned me: on such short notice, the ideas and even the presentations were great! One team presented a couples campaign (buying fitness tech to work out together), for instance, and another positioned fitness tech as a new kind of jewelry. The winning team made everyone laugh by informing us that dating is dead so it's okay to be single on Valentine's Day. Here they are with the Moxie team, and Karen King and me (yeah, I'm the one holding the phone).
Many, many thanks to Moxie -- you'll be seeing us again. Especially if you hire a couple of those amazing students.