By Nicole Rodriguez, Senior Writer
Four students from the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), Ally Mejia ‘22, Jana Clark ‘22, Michael Ficaro ‘22 and Madison Mulkigian ‘23, represented the college for the first time with their group submission for the 2022 Bateman Case Study Competition.
Originating in 1973, the Bateman Case Study Competition allows PRSSA members across the nation to exercise the analytical skills required for public relations problem solving.
This year participating student teams were challenged to research, plan, implement and evaluate a public relations campaign for the Lymphoma Research Foundation centered on raising awareness for resources currently available to those diagnosed with the disease. Additionally, students were tasked with educating adolescents and young adults while revamping campaign efforts toward eradicating lymphoma.
“The Bateman Case Study Competition continues to be a way in which our students can put their communications skills to the test and really make a far-reaching impact through creative campaigns,” said Jeneen Garcia, PRSSA senior vice president of programming, in a story posted on the organization’s website on Oct. 14. “The work the Lymphoma Research Foundation is doing in its effort to eradicate lymphoma is inspiring and I know their mission will be a real driving force in the work that results from this competition.”
The college’s student team underwent a four month long preparation process for their campaign submission. Beginning in late December and concluding in late March, the preparation process consisted of extensive brainstorming, researching, planning and writing.
“Our team met on a bi-weekly basis where we would discuss what tasks each team member needed to complete in order to make our plan a success. Our preparation entailed a lot of research, planning, and preparing for how we would implement all of our strategies,” Clark said. “We had a few weeks to implement our strategies which involved creating Lymphoma-specific social media pages to raise awareness of Lymphoma on our campus, create awareness videos, write press releases and more.”
Mejia further explained the preparation process detailing the various objectives and tactics they set to implement within their campaign.
“Some of these tactics included a social media campaign, a tabling event in Kelly Commons, and a research survey designed for college students. After our implementation period, we had to evaluate each tactic and do a ton of writing,” said Mejia.
Both Clark and Mejia noted how their public relations courses at the college effectively prepared and provided them with the hands-on experience necessary for competing.
“One class in particular, Strategic Planning with Dr. Arshia Anwer definitely came in handy when creating our campaign for the Bateman Competition,” said Clark. “In this class, students had to go through a very similar process of creating a strategic plan for a client and then submitting it to be reviewed and voted on. This class provided my team and I with everything we needed to know about what goes into creating a strategic plan and how to execute it successfully.”
While the team had prior knowledge regarding how to put together a public relations campaign and the guidance of their faculty advisor Arshia Anwer, Ph.D., the group faced challenges such as gathering research participants.
“One of the biggest challenges was receiving research participants for our survey. Something we had to keep in mind was the size of our campus especially when competing against larger state schools,” Mejia said. “While we worried that our participants and sample sizes would be greatly smaller, we discovered in terms of ratio percentages, we were actually quite similar to other campaigns submitted in the past.”
Another challenge the team faced was implementing their campaign strategies.
“In my opinion, one of our biggest challenges was implementing our strategies. Prior to this competition, we only had to write about what strategies we would use to execute our plan, not actually carry them out. It definitely threw us for a loop but I think we pulled it off and did the best we could,” Clark said.
Despite the challenges they faced, the team was honored to be the first group at the college to submit a campaign for the Bateman Competition. They hope their submission paves the way for future groups to feel confident enough to compete.
“Do not let other big schools intimidate you. While it may sound cheesy, we are small but mighty,” said Mejia. “We have talented PRSSA members that are willing to put in the hard work, do not be intimidated.”
The Bateman Case Study Competition served as an opportunity for the group to take everything they learned in the classroom and apply it to the real world. It also served as a great opportunity for the college’s chapter to collaborate and potentially receive recognition for their talented executive board members.
“This is a big competition that a lot of PRSSA chapters participate in, so we thought it was time for Manhattan College’s chapter of PRSSA to get the ball rolling for future members to also feel encouraged to join the competition,” Clark said. “We may have been the first, but we hope we are not the last.”