DePaul’s public relations and advertising (PRAD) master’s program proved its excellence once again this year when two groups of students placed in the 14th annual Case Study Competition in Corporate Communications, sponsored by the Arthur W. Page Society and the Institute for Public Relations. The grand prize team included Maggie Christ (CMN MA ’15), Renata Sandor (CMN MA ’15) and Andrew Tonne (CMN MA ’15), who presented their case, “Cigarettes Out. Health In. An Analysis of the Rebrand of CVS Health,” about CVS’ recent move to eliminate cigarettes from their stores. This team also won the inaugural Jack Koten Page Principles Case Study Award. Additionally, Lily Kim, Allie Kuopus (CMN MA ’15) and Nicole Susenburger (CMN MA ’15) placed first with their case study, “General Motors’ Corporate Culture Crisis: An Assessment of the Ignition Switch Recall.”
“Writing the case study helped me to truly understand what it means to stick to your company’s goals,” says Sandor (left), an account manager at Mabbly, a digital marketing company in Chicago. “I’m able to apply that knowledge in my career today and transfer that passion to my clients.”
The first place team was awarded $2,500, and the grand prize team won $5,000. The Arthur W. Page Society also flew the grand prize team to New York for their annual Awards Ceremony Dinner on April 9. During the dinner, the group led a discussion about their case, which was mediated by Matt Ragas, associate professor of public relations, academic director of the PRAD program and faculty advisor for the project. After the discussion, the students answered questions from and later met with many of the Page Society members in attendance, including chief communications officers and CEOs from some of the country’s largest companies and agencies. Following the dinner, the students attended a reception where they were able to further interact with the guests.
“The students shared their experiences with some very well-respected people in the business,” Ragas says. “It was great to see CEOs of agencies approach our students, congratulate them, hand them their business cards and say ‘contact me.’”
Not only did the students receive recognition for their hard work, but also, they learned valuable skills and lessons while researching their cases. Christ (left), a marketing and public relations coordinator at Lumity, says she applies those lessons daily.
“I truly enjoyed every part of the project—the research and work, meeting incredible and influential people, and bringing positive attention to the school and program that has done so much for me,” she says. “It’s a true representation of what DePaul’s PRAD program is about. We don’t just learn about the industry; we get to participate in it. It’s been incredibly useful in helping me excel in my career.”