School of Business Master of Science in Management (MSM) students received valuable consumer insights about Millennials and Generation Z from Wake Forest University Provost and professor Rogan Kersh during a recent guest lecture.
The October lecture provided additional background knowledge on the consumer behaviors and team-member dynamics for these two influential generations and served to better equip students to complete their fall Graduate Consulting Project (GCP). The GCP is an engaging learning experience that places student teams face-to-face with organizations to develop innovative solutions to business challenges by applying course concepts in a sponsor-client partnership.
This year’s fall GCP explores if social media is an effective way to connect with Millennials and members of GenZ for the GCP client Rugs.com, owned by global area rug and home décor online retailer Unique Loom.
“Experiential learning courses, like GCP, not only provide students with an opportunity to apply the functional concepts they are learning in courses like marketing and finance, but also present the chance to demonstrate the real-world skills of managing ambiguity, working on a diverse team and communicating findings and recommendations in a persuasive way,” said Shannon McKeen, Adjunct Professor of the Practice at Wake Forest School of Business. “These experiences help prepare the students for their future job interviews and careers.”
Kersh provided context around generational attributes and characteristics to aid students with research and analysis for the project. He has given a multitude of talks on the millennial generation to audiences across the U.S., Latin America, and Europe, including at TEDx conferences. His current book project is “Millennials, Politics, & Culture.”
“The U.S. for better or worse, has had a longstanding, deep-seated popular belief in this idea of generations,” Kersh said. He urged students to “take seriously the notion that because you are born in a certain, 18-, 19-, or 20-year period, that you don’t just share with your birth cohort some music experience or popular culture, but this idea of generations actually does serious work,” he said. “In meaningful ways, the cohort that you’re born into helps shape your identity.”
Kersh also shared six keys to teamwork: goals, developing a work plan, roles and responsibilities, monitoring progress, communication, and setting norms, elaborating on the value of teamwork in C-suite positions.
Students will deliver final GCP recommendations through presentations presented in-person to judges on Nov. 22. The top four presentations will be presented to Unique Loom representatives on Dec. 2.
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