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Purdue Calumet's PUMA Club Takes Members Out Of The Classroom, And Into The Real World


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The wants and needs of employers has changed. Whereas in the past, a college degree was enough to get one ahead in the job hunt, nowadays employers are looking for not only a degree when hiring, but also real world experience and specific skill sets.

Purdue Calumet's PUMA club, which stands for Purdue University Marketing Association, understands these new desires from marketing employers and has adapted their club's focus to make sure their students are getting out into the areas they want to get involved in and getting active in learning and networking.

"We listened to the needs of the students," Professor Kasia Firlej, club director said. "And decided to make this club a chance for them to see what marketers are doing professionally."

This new direction of the club, in terms of getting the students out of the classroom and into the real world, arose from a tried and true marketing technique: listening to your audience.

"As interesting and informative as the guest speakers were, students still saw them as an extra lecture," Firlej added. "With getting the students out of the classroom and learning from experience we have seen much better results."

The benefits, Firlej explains, are two-fold. One, club members are learning and experiencing the different marketing fields and skills employees are looking for. And two, it helps the club members learn exactly what future employers are looking for in a marketer.

Which is vital in the marketing field, where the emergence of digital media has created a shift in the skill sets necessary to get ahead in the job market.

"Technology has changed the field of marketing," Firlej explained. "It is in the employers’ best interest to let the kids come in and get as much as experience as possible."

Plus, as Firlej explains, it gives a chance for employers to see the unique, hard working individuals in the PUMA club, and allows the students the chance to show what they can bring to the table for employers.

The club's new direction has already reaped many benefits, as Firlej has noticed that with the club’s success in getting students prepared for the real world that more students are wanting to come back and share their experience with the club as well.

"The big differentiator has been the hands on experience," Firlej said.

The PUMA club is open to any student on any Purdue campus. For those interested in joining, the best way to inquire is to send the club a message on their Facebook page.

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