Gannon University Students Collaborate with the Erie County Diabetes Association

Posted: May 5, 2015

Gannon University MBA program students are assisting the Erie County Diabetes Association (ECDA) to analyze and promote awareness of its mission to combat diabetes in local Erie area. Bruce Kibler, Ph.D., assistant professor of management, led his MBA level-capstone Business Policy class to create and execute marketing implementation plans for ECDA. On May 5 at 6 p.m. in Room 300 (3rd floor) of the Gannon Business Center for Ingenuity, 900 State St., the class will present its progress to the board and staff of ECDA. The presentation will reveal the results from the students' market research study and provide recommendations to increase brand visibility.

Business Policy is a graduate-level class in the Masters of Business Administration curriculum designed to help upcoming graduates bring together the many aspects of business into one focus and apply them. This semester, students collaborated with ECDA to provide a detailed market analysis, surveying and interviewing key stakeholders, including current customers, media, and possible businesses partners, and recommend next steps for increased brand awareness and customer acquisition. ECDA provided current-state analysis and program expectations at the start of the semester.

While using the knowledge they have obtained through their MBA program, students worked with local healthcare professionals to collect data on the current state of diabetes in the community as well as Millcreek health providers and local nonprofits. Students surveyed more than 100 health professionals in Erie County. Healthcare providers were selected from three local medical organizations, Saint Vincent, Millcreek Community, and UPMC Hamot hospitals. Part of the mission to bring brand awareness to ECDA involved going directly to healthcare providers, the source of patient care and well-being.

Local media outlets such as WQLN, WICU, Connoisseur Media and WJET-TV, and businesses such as Erie Insurance participated in one-on-one interviews to discuss how they might assist EDDA. The information collected was compiled into a database for the board to use for future marketing strategies and fundraising opportunities. As a University deeply rooted in the local community, the study afforded students the opportunity for rendering service to the community while applying strategies learned in the classroom.