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UH Moment

UH Moment: Google Online Marketing

An online marketing project netted real world experience (and donations for two Houston organizations) for two teams of MBA students.


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It started with a class on internet marketing and ended with a $15,000 donation between two Houston nonprofits, thanks to UH MBA students Charles Shelton, Benjamin Smith and their respective student teams who participated in the Google Online Marketing Challenge.

Smith’s team selected Houston Grand Opera (HGO) as their client.

“We ran our campaign around their showing of Carmen, which was the most popular show of the season,” He said. “With them, it was about selling tickets and reaching out to customers they wouldn’t normally reach out to.”

Bauer MBA students (from left) Varuniya Pushparajan, Randall Miller, Charles Shelton and Saket Maheshwari placed 3rd in the Social Impact Awards as part of the annual Google Online Marketing Challenge for their work with Space Center Houston

Shelton’s team worked with Space Center Houston.

“Our primary focus was utilizing the brand recognition, brand terms in search queries to drive traffic,” he said. “We attempted to use their underlying brand identity to extend that.”

Each team participated in C. T. Bauer College of Business’s Internet Marketing Practicum, created to prepare UH MBA students participating in the Google Online Marketing Challenge.

“The competition itself is a great example of a way to provide context to the courses and homework we’ve done,” Shelton said. “The team found that we had a specialty or a type of analysis that we excelled at.”

“I’ll tell you that I had several classes that directly contributed to success on this project,” Smith added. “Working face to face with clients, for example.  I also did a consulting lab for one of my classes.  Working in a competitive environment.”

At the end of the campaign, the HGO and Space Center Houston teams garnered returns on investment of 3,200 and 4,700 percent, respectively, earning them second and third place finishes in the international competition’s “Social Impact Award” category.

“We’re getting a smart education here,” Shelton said. “The potential impact on our careers is great.”

The CT Bauer College of Business is part of what’s happening at the University of Houston.

Bauer MBA students (from left) Shu Su and Benjamin Smith along with teammates (not pictured) Sarah Burge and Neha Kejriwal, placed 2nd in the Social Impact Awards as part of the annual Google Online Marketing Challenge for their work with Houston Grand Opera

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