Students need to stand out in today’s competitive job market, so internships and volunteer work are more important than ever. Recent research indicates that practical experience is valued by 52% of hiring managers when making decisions (source). Utah Valley University (UVU) recognized this gap in the market and responded by establishing The Green House, a student-run digital marketing agency.
The Importance of Real-World Exposure
Senior year capstone projects for UVU’s digital marketing major have historically involved student collaboration with area businesses. While this effort saw some success, it soon became apparent that no single endeavor could provide students with the comprehensive education they would need to succeed in the competitive job market. Experts in the field and university alums told the administration that graduates without prior work experience were more likely to be offered internships than full-time jobs.
The Green House, Now Presenting…
UVU opened The Green House in the spring of 2022 to provide students with more extensive hands-on experience. About 18 students are hired each term to work at this student-run agency, where they can earn money while gaining experience in the field and exposure to real-world marketing challenges (source). Students can improve their knowledge of digital marketing by working on real-world campaigns for paying clients.
Organizational Form and Guidance
Professor David Przybyla oversees the daily operations of the Green House and acts as a mentor and guide to the student interns. Six working businesspeople, many of whom are UVU alums, also lend their support and expertise to the organization (source). By working together, teachers and students can better monitor each other’s progress and offer constant feedback on projects.
The Green House requires its student workers to put in at least 20 hours per week in person and pays them the university minimum wage of $12.75. There is a project manager and a communications manager in charge of the two groups of five. Internships for students at lower levels give them exposure to and mentoring from those at higher levels.
Services to Clients and Teamwork
The Green House’s Fertilizer Package is a twelve-week program. Reputation management, SEO, social media, and paid media audits are all a part of this all-inclusive package. The Green House offers a wide variety of services to guarantee that each client receives an integrated marketing strategy designed specifically for them.
In order to better serve its customers, The Green House has collaborated with other areas of the business school. For instance, in order to find new customers, they worked with the UVU capstone sales course. Students in the sales program at The Green House are required to make a sale to the nonprofit in order to graduate, so the partnership benefits both organizations.
Developing Capabilities and Widening Access to Resources
Students from other courses, such as social media and content writing, contribute their skills to The Green House in addition to the core teams working on client projects. By working together, more students can get real-world experience in their fields of study and a wider range of services can be provided (source).
Persistence and Obstacles
Despite all of The Green House’s accomplishments, maintaining adequate funding has proven difficult. Professor Przybyla seeded the organization with his own funds, and since then, the agency’s growth has been supported in large part by grants secured by the department’s partners. The Green House also provides a money-back guarantee to reassure customers that investing in student-led projects is risk-free.
Turnover is high because The Green House places a premium on preparing students for careers in marketing. Three times a year—at the end of each semester and in the summer—students are hired. As the agency grows, it will become increasingly important to attract and retain talented new employees, as well as to provide them with the proper training (source).
The Growth of Capabilities
Over the past 18 months, The Green House has provided marketing consulting services to more than 50 businesses across a wide range of sectors (source). Sixty undergraduates have participated in paid internships at the agency, with 75 percent having little to no relevant work experience. In addition, 3 in 10 interns identify as people of color and 3 in 10 are first-generation college students (source).
The Green House is dedicated to helping students grow in all areas of their development, not just technical ones. Professor Przybyla stresses the significance of students’ being ready for both entry-level work and future career advancement. Students learn how to solve real-world problems and conduct themselves professionally by working directly with clients (source).
See first source: Inside Higher Ed
Q1: What is The Green House?
A1: The Green House is a student-run digital marketing agency at Utah Valley University (UVU) established to provide students with hands-on experience in the field of digital marketing.
Q2: Why was The Green House created?
A2: The Green House was created to address the need for students to gain practical experience in marketing. Research showed that practical experience is highly valued by hiring managers, and UVU recognized this gap in the market.
Q3: How does The Green House benefit students?
A3: The Green House offers students the opportunity to work on real-world marketing campaigns for paying clients. This allows them to gain valuable experience and exposure to marketing challenges, enhancing their knowledge of digital marketing.
Q4: Who oversees The Green House?
A4: Professor David Przybyla oversees the daily operations of The Green House and serves as a mentor to student interns. Additionally, six business professionals, many of whom are UVU alumni, provide guidance and support.
Q5: What services does The Green House offer?
A5: The Green House offers a comprehensive “Fertilizer Package” that includes reputation management, SEO, social media, and paid media audits. They provide customized marketing strategies for each client.
Q6: How does The Green House collaborate with other departments?
A6: The Green House collaborates with other areas of the business school to find new clients. They work with the UVU capstone sales course, benefiting both organizations and expanding their client base.
Q7: How do students from different courses contribute to The Green House?
A7: Students from various courses, including social media and content writing, contribute their skills to The Green House, allowing a broader range of services and more students to gain real-world experience.
Q8: How is The Green House funded?
A8: The Green House initially received funding from Professor Przybyla’s own funds. It continues to be supported by grants secured by the department’s partners. They also offer a money-back guarantee to reassure customers.
Q9: What is the turnover rate at The Green House?
A9: The Green House experiences high turnover due to its focus on preparing students for marketing careers. Students are hired three times a year, emphasizing the need to attract and retain new talent and provide proper training.
Q10: What has The Green House achieved so far?
A10: Over the past 18 months, The Green House has provided marketing consulting services to more than 50 businesses, with 60 undergraduates participating in paid internships. They are dedicated to students’ overall development, preparing them for entry-level work and future career advancement.
Featured Image Credit: Sam Balye; Unsplash – Thank you!