Survey by Wright State marketing students reveals potential for increasing student awareness of Dayton companies

From left: Doris Adler, executive director , Dayton Workforce Partnerships; marketing students Jessica Ann Parkin and Anna Dunn; Ron Adler, Dayton Workforce Partnerships; and marketing students Rufina Suleyman and Audrey Voisard.

Many Wright State University students are not familiar with some of the biggest employers in the region, but most students are interested in learning more and seeking jobs with them.

Those are the results of an extensive survey conducted for the businesses by a team of Wright State marketing students.

The survey was conducted during the fall semester for Dayton Workforce Partnerships, a nonprofit with ties to 14 local businesses. The nonprofit seeks to connect college students with local employers and high school students with local colleges.

The online survey, which got responses from 578 Wright State students, was part of a marketing research class taught by Pola Gupta, the Robert J. Kegerreis Distinguished Professor of Teaching and professor of marketing. The project was conducted by marketing majors Anna Dunn, Rufina Suleyman and Jessica Parkin.

The surveyed students were asked whether they were familiar with six Dayton-based businesses — Booz Allen Hamilton, Premier Health, Reynolds & Reynolds, Winsupply, Woolpert and Yaskawa Motoman.

“They wanted to know how much our students are aware of these companies the Dayton Workforce partners with,” said Gupta. “Employers are looking to fill positions and want to be able to attract our talented students. We have outstanding students in every college.”

The 27-question survey targeted junior and senior students pursuing degrees in business, health care and engineering. Graduate nursing students were also polled.

Although a few of the companies had high recognition among the students, a low percentage of students were familiar with some of the other businesses.

However, three of every four students polled said they were interested in learning more about the companies, and a majority of respondents said they would be interested in jobs and internships at the local businesses. More than 70% of the students said they want to work in the Dayton area following graduation.

“The marketing students did an amazing job,” said Gupta, who teaches his students how to conduct marketing surveys and analyze the results.

Gupta said the nonprofit’s top executives were impressed with the survey. They came to Wright State to hear Dunn, Suleyman and Parkin present the results in their marketing research class.

Respondents suggested that the companies connect with students by using email and social media, attending career fairs, offering internships, sponsoring campus events and posting flyers around campus.

Dunn, who served as team leader on the project, said she hopes the survey results spark a conversation and a movement to establish better contact between students and Dayton businesses.

“I hope the gap between lack of student awareness and the ability to fill job positions in Dayton is filled with better interaction, engagement and education to help both the businesses and Wright State students thrive,” said Dunn.

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