“Roosevelt University: for a degree that pays.” This is the slogan often used by Professor Lee Earle when describing the value of a degree from Roosevelt to his students.
Earle, a former ad agency professional who has worked for Leo Burnett and Tracey Locke, now teaches Master’s students pursuing a degree in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC). The graduate program in IMC prepares students to meet the marketing and communication challenges of 21st-century companies and nonprofit organizations. The program is centered around hands-on coursework in advertising, visual communications, social and digital media strategy, community outreach, relationship-building and multicultural marketing.
Before earning a Master’s Degree in IMC, each Roosevelt University student must complete a capstone project that showcases what they’ve learned and how they can apply their knowledge and skills in the professional world. This year, Professor Earle’s class of 25 IMC students are taking a dive into the world of ParqEx – exploring ways to build upon the ParqEx brand, and implementing field and market research to gain valuable insights about the industry.
The class has already conducted a widespread analysis of the ParqEx brand and has completed focus groups and market research with hopes to provide ParqEx a better understanding of its customers. This past week, ParqEx CEO Vivek Mehra and Roosevelt’s IMC students engaged in an interactive Q&A discussion.
The ParqEx team also had the opportunity to interview a few Roosevelt students about their experiences with the capstone project thus far.
ParqEx: How has your experience been thus far while working on the ParqEx project – are there parts that you’re finding more challenging than others and what do you enjoy about it?
Kimberly: What I enjoy about it is that it’s a startup – it’s really good to have to discover the information instead of saying “This is what we did already and you need to find new stuff”. A lot of our professors say, “Don’t work with big brands, they’re too complex.” Its very easy as a student, especially as a grad student, to work with a company that’s newer – they’re willing to take more risks because they’re new and hungry. They’re more creative because they don’t have those huge budgets like other brands do.
ParqEx: When thinking about your career, what types of industries interest you most?
Kimberly: The industries that interest me aren’t exactly what I’d call exciting. I wish I could be like Penny from Mad Men and kick butt in the office and walk out with a strut. I could work for any company in any industry and gain valuable experiences and have fun.
ParqEx: What’s your favorite neighborhood in Chicago and why?
Kimberly: My favorite neighborhood would have to be Edgewater/Andersonville, because it’s the cutest. It’s far enough away from the city-stuff and it’s not exactly a tourist spot, but it still has Clark Street. It’s super cute and quaint and if you want to be in the city but not have all the people and the tourists, that’s where I would recommend someone to go.
ParqEx: How has your experience been thus far working on the ParqEx project?
Carly: It’s really exciting to be part of a company that is still growing, and growing fast. It’s cool to think that we could be making an impact on the success of the company. It’s also challenging – which is a good thing. From the research we’ve done, we’ve been able to get a better understanding of where the supply for parking is located and who is demanding that parking when available.
ParqEx: What is your favorite neighborhood in Chicago and why?
Carly: I live in Rogers Park and I absolutely love my neighborhood, because it’s probably the most diverse here in Chicago. There’s Little Mexico, there’s Little Middle-East, there’s Little Caribbean. Every time of culture is in Rogers Park.
ParqEx: Is there a mobile app that you use daily?
Carly: Probably Facebook. And Snapchat.
ParqEx: When thinking about your future career what types of industries interest you most? This is the last question.
Carly: I know for sure that I want to do something in brand building and brand management but I can’t exactly focus on just marketing or just PR. I love our program, because it has everything built into it. I can literally learn everything and feel like I have more than enough tools that I need to help any company that I work for.
ParqEx: What is the most challenging part about the project?
Brittany: The most challenging part is identifying who to target on the marketing side. Do we target people looking for parking or people looking to rent out their spots? Narrowing down the profile of a target market is really challenging, especially given the demographics of most of the classroom. We’re interviewing our peers and we’re surveying our peers. These are people that may not have the income level to have a spot to rent out based on some of the research that we’ve done. Knowing who we’re targeting and knowing what to actually ask has been the most challenging part.
ParqEx: Do you have a personal favorite neighborhood in Chicago and why do you love it?
Brittany: A personal favorite neighborhood? It depends, because I’m all over the city for everything. For food and drinks, I really like Lincoln Park and Lakeview areas. For relaxation and for a small-town feel, Oak Park. I live right outside of Oak Park and it’s a really close-knit community and everything is cute and there’s Cobblestone which is always a plus.
ParqEx: When thinking about your future career, is there a specific industry that you would love to go into or what do you envision for your career?
Brittany: Film and television. I envision being a part of that industry. Whether it’s doing marketing side or more production side- I’ve always known that you have to know how to sell something to make it effective, and that’s my marketing background, but my passion is more creative.
The entire ParqEx team would like to thank Professor Earle and his entire team of amazing students for the opportunity to work with them.