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Students Explore (and Conquer) Market Research Databases

By BTL on March 11, 2013 10:30 AM | Permalink

The Donald W. Reynolds Governor's Cup Competition, the Dominic Anthony Marrocco Southern Nevada Business Plan Competition, and the National Student Advertising Competition boast large cash prizes and start-up seed money for students who can create viable, well-researched business plans or pitch imaginative strategies to solve thorny marketing challenges. 

Business librarian Patrick Griffis instructs student.

Librarians at the UNLV Libraries have evolved to support these projects, developing the online collections and expertise needed to meet the demands of increasingly competitive students and faculty. Librarians provide specialized workshops and access to subscription-based business intelligence research databases. 

These databases compile reports and analysis from public records, business operations analysis, and commercial consumer research firms. Students can learn about a company’s financial health, market share, and projected strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats; they can also better understand consumer needs and market segmentation and even gather demographic data and advertising market shares to plan effective advertising campaigns. For example, the recently acquired Simmons OneView platform “provides access to marketing data and tools that allow users the ability to create profile reports with consumer target information, plan cross-media and messaging strategies with built-in analytic tools, including reach and frequency reports, correspondence mapping and geographic analysis.” Students and entrepreneurs alike use these sources to acquire and analyze research data that will help them dream up the next generation of innovative and successful businesses. 

Lee Business School considers enthusiasm for competition an essential value, stating on its student competitions web page “We are in it to win it.” One of the strongest attributes of UNLV’s business programs is an insistence upon co-curricular education. By requiring students to compete in these multi-disciplinary contests, they are exposed to creative thinkers from diverse backgrounds that bring to bear unique perspectives and innovative solutions to some of Nevada’s most complex problems. The majority of UNLV’s winning business plans submitted to these contests have been focused on energy, the environment, and resource conservation, such as the winning water conservation device MASH Tool USA that took the grand prize at the 2012 Donald W. Reynold’s Governor’s Cup Competition.

The 2012 Governor’s Cup winning team that created the MASH Tool USA business plan were classmates taking a course in New Venture Creation offered to both College of Business entrepreneurship students and College of Engineering senior design students. The collaborative, competitive spirit is integrated in these co-curricular programs by Dr. Andrew Hardin and Dr. Janet Runge from the start, encouraging UNLV students to develop real-world skills that render tangible rewards. Business faculty members have recognized the need for students to build stronger research skills, and so integrated an information literacy component into capstone curricula. The librarians have proven themselves not-so-secret weapons by helping students identify the data they need to solve a problem or make a persuasive argument. They visit classes and host workshops to teach students how to use the market research databases and to help them understand how the data was collected and might be interpreted. They also tailor library guides that direct students to the most relevant research sources for their specific projects.

Business librarian Patrick Griffis regularly uses market research databases to assist student competitors in the Donald W. Reynolds Governor's Cup Competition and the Dominic Anthony Marocco Southern Nevada Business Plan Competition. Every semester, Patrick visits Dr. Hardin's classes to demonstrate scenarios where students can solve problems using industry analysis and market research and offer assistance to those in need. “He has been an invaluable resource for the students during the process of conducting their respective industry and market analyses,” Dr. Hardin asserted.  

Librarians support students inside and outside of the classroom as they explore and conquer, gathering company overviews, comparing industry market shares, and examining consumer market research to create strong semester projects, business plans, and contest submissions. Most importantly, they play a part in the grander scheme by which new ideas give rise to new technologies, new companies, and a new, improved Nevada. 

For more information:

Recent Newstories:

Competition Results for the Lee Business School:

Example of Library Guides: