Student Researchers Leave their Mark on Atlantic Marketing Association Conference

KENNESAW, Ga. (Oct 12, 2018) — The Atlantic Marketing Association Conference opened its doors to student researchers this year for the first time, welcoming 20 Kennesaw State University students to share their findings with marketing faculty from across the country.

Held Sept. 26 – 29 in New Orleans, La., the AtMA Conference attracted top academics to discuss the latest marketing trends. Throughout the conference’s 43-year history, only marketing professionals and educators have been invited to present. However, this year Conference Chair Leila Borders established a new Student Illustrations track, which allowed 30 students from nine universities to participate.

“It was an incredible opportunity to hear other students share their research,” says Megan Colapinto, a Kennesaw State professional sales major who presented an abstract entitled Where Service Meets Education. “All of the presentations exploded with passion. I learned so much in just a short trip.”

Atlantic Marketing Association Conference
Kennesaw State student Megan Colapinto

The 20 Kennesaw State undergraduate and graduate students received financial support from Dr. Kathy Schwaig, dean of the Michael J. Coles College of Business, as well as from the National Collegiate Sales Competition, the Coles College Doctor of Business Administration and Master of Business Administration programs, and the Kennesaw State Office of Undergraduate Research.

Kennesaw State sent the largest student contingent thanks to the efforts of assistant marketing professors Dr. Jennifer Hutchins and Dr. Mona Sinha. In April, Sinha hosted a research competition for her international marketing students as part of the Kennesaw State Symposium of Student Scholars. She encouraged participants to submit case studies to the AtMA conference, which inspired others to follow suit. She and Hutchins led the AtMA Student Illustrations track.

“Encouraging students to not only create original research, but also to travel to an established national conference and present their work showcases Kennesaw State’s commitment to mentoring, student research, and the holistic training of our students for the job market and higher education,” Sinha says.

Topics featured in the Student Illustrations track included evolving marketing strategies for senior citizens, the challenges of marketing yoga in the United States, how environmental factors influence the success of sales calls, Amazon’s struggles adapting to the Chinese market, and many others.

Atlantic Marketing Association Conference
Participants in the Student Illustrations track

Three Kennesaw State students won awards for their presentations. Clay Wilderman received the Outstanding Undergraduate Case Study award for Namaste in the USA: Yoga as Mind, Body, and Protest: An International Marketing Case Study, while Christine Billen’s What Does Mentoring Have to do with It? Effects on Multifaceted Role Ambiguity earned her the Outstanding Graduate Abstract award. Finally, Mizzani Walker won the Outstanding Undergraduate Paper award for Food for Thought: Analyzing Public Opinion on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

The conference gave students valuable experience developing their research and presentation skills.

“As students took to the podium to share their research with newfound poise and professionalism, we saw them transformed from nervous, anxious participants into confident, self-assured researchers,” says Borders.

“The Atlantic Marketing Conference exposed me to so many great people and opportunities,” says Jefferson Beard, a Kennesaw State marketing major who presented the abstract Marketing to Seniors: Adapting Strategies to Meet Evolving Generations. “The faculty created an atmosphere of support and encouragement that allowed me and my fellow students to prosper and gain invaluable knowledge.”

Atlantic Marketing Association Conference
Kennesaw State student Jefferson Beard

According to Borders, several of the student presenters have expressed interest in pursuing careers in academics following their experiences at the AtMA conference.

“Seeing these students growing and excelling was one of the most rewarding experiences of the year,” she says.

Borders adds that the Student Illustrations Track will be an ongoing part of the AtMA conference.

-Patrick Harbin