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USF Students Pitch Business Ideas to Top Executives

by Annie Breen, USF News

A team of graduate marketing students wrapped up their final project last fall by sharing business recommendations with top managers, including the CEO, at Vagaro, a startup that provides business management services to small businesses.  

The students in the master of science in marketing intelligence (MSMI) program spent a day in the Pleasanton office of Vagaro presenting the ideas and recommendations that they had worked on throughout the semester. The students presented data and marketing ideas for Vagaro’s new markets in the mental health, martial arts, and tattoo industries.

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Kiran Kaur ’22, a marketing research specialist at Vagaro, arranged the MSMI program’s visit to the company. A marketing major at USF who went on to become a Double Don by earning an MSMI degree, Kaur said the university helped her land her job at Vagaro.

“The practicum project we worked on as students led to a full-time job offer soon after graduation,” Kaur said. “Now I have the opportunity to offer students the same chance I had by leading their projects [as the client]. I work with students to solve problems and address questions that capture Vagaro's interest.”

MSMI student Matthew Marsh ’23, now working at Edelman DXI, said he appreciated how the Vagaro team took the group’s proposals seriously.

“I was very impressed by not only how welcoming the employees of Vagaro were, but more so with how seriously they treated the insights and recommendations we presented to them,” Marsh said. “Now that I am working after graduating from the MSMI program, I can look back and really appreciate how that experience directly equates to the working world.”

Classmate Hannah Wang ’23, now working as a junior consultant at The MarkeTech Group, added, “Working with Vagaro was by far the highlight [of my MSMI experience], since not only were our insights valuable to the company, but they went the extra mile by inviting us to their headquarters to share our findings.”

Vagaro planned a whole day of activities. After each presentation, students split into breakout sessions with different members of the Vagaro team to discuss implementation of their ideas.

“I was paired with the technical writing team and we worked together to create new website copy based on my team’s findings,” Wang said. “It was such a great way to end our program and an amazing experience to take into my current role” as a market research consultant.

Wang said her favorite thing about the MSMI program was “how specific and industry-focused it was, and how the exercises in class mirrored the types of projects that real market research firms do. In interviews, I was easily able to point to things in the job description and say, ‘I did this in school.’”