Alumna Bacus Connects MKT 494 with the Resources of Cigna

Posted: Tuesday, June 21st 2016 at 9:32 AM

Lisa Rojas Bacus ('86 MGT/Spanish), chief global marketing officer for Cigna Worldwide, has a legacy of giving back to the FCB. Len Hostetter, assistant professor of practice in marketing, met Bacus in Fall 2015 at the annual Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame event. He asked her if she would be open to his capstone class doing some type of strategic marketing plan with Cigna and she said, "Absolutely." Hostetter knew that was a significant opportunity for his students given that Cigna is a $35 billion dollar company.

Bacus put Hostetter in touch with Paula Green in marketing operations and Elizabeth Henry, vice president of marketing operations, who became the day-to-day contacts for one of his spring 2016 MKT 494 – Strategic Marketing Capstone courses. Green and Henry ‘ran interference’ in their organization to get answers for the students about their projects.

Nine teams presented at the end of the semester to Green, Henry, and their peers. Cigna then chose three presentations that piqued their interest, asking that they present to Bacus and other senior officers at Cigna on May 6 via video conferencing.

The three teams selected were:

Team AngicCross Fit: Nick Boyd, Ryan Preiss, Jonny Nottingham, and Jeff Ferrier

Team 3ESPY’s: Daniel Guendel, Morgan Beaudoin, and Julia Viberg

Team Nationwide Health LeadersPhoenix Marathon: Jumpei Kita, Ryan Esposito, and Thomas Dunn

This experience is a great example of student engagement with a client outside of the University. The students were able to work real-time with Cigna to develop a sponsorship marketing plan. This provides talking points on student resumes or in job interviews. Its importance wasn’t missed by the students either.

“It has been a great experience working with such a big company as Cigna and see that they value the ideas and input from us. The project was eye-opening in how much time and effort companies put into choosing the right sponsorship. It is not an easy decision since a sponsorship has to align with the company’s beliefs,” offered Viberg.

“The opportunity of this Cigna project has allowed me to hone in on my public speaking and presentation skills. However, most importantly it has given us something more tangible and applicable to what we may be doing after we leave the University. Simply the thought of having an impact on a globally-operated company with our own ideas and creations is thrilling,” said Preiss.

Guendel said, “To present in a ‘real world’ environment was extremely practical and useful. Cigna is a well-established brand and having the opportunity to show our work to them was fun and rewarding.”

“This experience provided an extremely insightful look at what a corporate sponsorship entails. It was also a great experience to be able to present to esteemed representatives from a very strong company,” expressed Beaudoin.

As an additional benefit, the students had a resource for networking as they make the transition from school to work. Green told Hostetter that any of the students were welcome to contact her if they have questions about career planning and opportunities as they move into the post-graduate world.

Hostetter was proud of all of the teams. He felt this project gave students exposure and pressure that they may not have had otherwise, applying what they learn in the classroom to such a prestigious client as Cigna.

Categories: cigna lisa rojas bacus len hostetter faculty 2016 students alumni spring 2016 paula green elizabeth henry mkt 494 strategic marketing capstone cross fit nick boyd ryan preiss jonny nottingham jeff ferrier espy’s daniel guendel morgan beaudoin julia viberg phoenix marathon jumpei kita ryan esposito thomas dunn