Business students partner with local news organization

For+their+Senior+Experience+project%2C+five+CSUSM+business+students+are+helping+The+Coast+News+Group+learn+new+marketing+tactics.

Photo courtesy of Steven Landeros

For their Senior Experience project, five CSUSM business students are helping The Coast News Group learn new marketing tactics.

Anneliese Esparza, Editor-in-Chief

A team of five CSUSM business students have partnered with the North County based news organization The Coast News Group for their Senior Experience project.

The College of Business Administration requires students to complete their own Senior Experience project to graduate. The goal is to provide students with real-world experience and to provide businesses with young, creative consultants. 

This project’s primary focus has been on strengthening The Coast News Group’s social media and growing its appeal to younger audiences.

“One of our goals was to start to invest in younger readers … We thought maybe we would find some strategies from the people themselves that are young minds,” said Chris Kydd, The Coast News Group’s Advertising Director and Associate Publisher.

The fact that [the students] are able to get feedback directly from businesses … is priceless. ”

— Chris Kydd, The Coast News Group’s Advertising Director and Associate Publisher

The Coast News Group has never hosted a CSUSM Senior Experience team before. Kydd said that the project has proven to be beneficial both to the students and to the business.

“The fact that [the students] are able to get feedback directly from businesses … is priceless. So many people go through their education with no real world integration with their work. And then they go out in the real world and they have some hard lessons to learn about translating some of that knowledge to the real world,” said Kydd.

One area in which the students have helped The Coast News Group is digital engagement.

“In this COVID time, we’re forced to develop our digital offerings. Having this team and these deadlines forced it to become more of a front-burner item,” said Kydd.

Kydd highlighted certain social media practices the team has recommended, such as the best way to use hashtags, as being especially helpful.  

“[The team] helped us realize that there were some very basic things that we really should have been doing, we really had the capability to do on our own, but until we stopped to pause and hear it from the senior project team, we didn’t realize how big of an opportunity we were really missing,” said Kydd. 

Senior Experience teams are formed of five students. While each team has a faculty advisor, students are responsible for planning and completing the work themselves.

“[Our faculty advisor’s] role was to help us initiate the project and help guide us to what we need to do, and from there we were able to do the rest on our own,” said Steven Landeros, a marketing major on the team.

I definitely was able to apply a lot of the knowledge that I learned in classes at Cal State San Marcos, which was cool.”

— Michelle Cronin, marketing major

Several of the students on the team said that working on the project is a valuable experience for their professional life.  

“I definitely was able to apply a lot of the knowledge that I learned in classes at Cal State San Marcos, which was cool,” said marketing major Michelle Cronin.

Landeros agreed that Senior Experience is a good way for students to put the theoretical concepts they’ve learned in class to practice. 

“I’ve been learning all this terminology [in classes], like how to appeal to customers, how to target markets, how to target based on demographics and geography, so like I’ve learned all this stuff, but I haven’t really had a specific practice to implement it, and I felt like Senior Experience is a great opportunity to do so,” said Landeros.

Jasmine Holliday, a finance major, said the project provided a chance to grow in a professional environment. 

“One of the obvious takeaways Senior Experience provided was the ability to work in a more professional setting … for me, it definitely helped when I am presenting my ideas to someone that actually is in charge of a business and having to be confident in my knowledge and what I found,” said Holliday.

For me, it definitely helped when I am presenting my ideas to someone that actually is in charge of a business and having to be confident in my knowledge.”

— Jasmine Holliday, finance major

Holliday also said she had to learn new skills for the project, as her finance major wasn’t directly related to her role of marketing podcasts. “I had to go in and be the expert overnight for them, basically,” said Holliday.

The project was conducted virtually, with communication done over email and Zoom. Despite this challenge, the team worked together well to accomplish their goals.

“Probably the best thing about this project was how well we all worked together through Zoom during COVID … I don’t think we would have gotten this far without everyone’s cooperation,” said management major Isabel Gabrail. 

Fellow management major Tommy Bito agreed. “It’s crazy to think that five individuals that basically never met each other were able to accomplish [this project] over a virtual, digital platform,” he said.

For his part, Kydd is pleased with how the project is going and impressed with the team of students. “We really feel like we got blessed with some smart minds,” said Kydd. “All I want to do is help these kids grow as well as meet our own goals.”

For more information on the Senior Experience, visit csusm.edu/coba/signature-programs/senior-experience/index.html

Visit The Coast News Group’s website at thecoastnews.com/

The Cougar Chronicle The independent student news site of California