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  • Andrew Nowel

IMC Masterclass offers ‘hands-on experience’

By: Andrew Nowel, Contributor

The integrated marketing and communication (IMC) major at Canisius is a popular major for students looking to gain experience in those two fields. In Professor Mary Owusu’s IMC masterclass, students get hands-on experience by working closely with actual clients, which could be crucial to the student’s future success and the betterment of the mission-driven clients they work with.

The class started in the fall of 2022 and is only available to undergraduate students. The group work that is involved throughout the semester helps students gain career-ready skills in the marketing and communication discipline, such as running social media campaigns, creating digital ads, fixing websites and more.

“The IMC Masterclass is a one-of-a-kind course found only at Canisius University,” said Professor Owusu. “It is an invitation-only class that allows students who have excelled in both merit and in grit to run an on-campus marketing agency where they use current marketing and communication tools to help real companies make an impact in the world.”

The class’s current client is Future In Our Hands-USA which was founded in Buffalo but has extended across the globe. The organization funds sustainable projects that serve to provide healthy living, education, community support and agricultural support to the men, women and children of Kenya and Zambia.

“[The students] get to work with FIOH-USA; a non-profit organization that funds truly life-saving projects,” said Professor Owusu.

Students in the class are very excited to be working with a real client, as the impact of the work of the students helps to make our world a better place. One student in the group, Anji Hvisdak, stated, “I enjoy the masterclass because we get to apply what we’re learning to a bigger cause.” Mekkehi Edwards expressed that their “favorite part of this [class] is being able to gain real-world experience that we can use in our careers post-graduation.” 

 Owusu went on to say that she was very excited to continue teaching students who are looking for a challenge where their work can help people all around the world. She also knows that the class can be beneficial to students as they look ahead to what is next in their lives. On this topic, she stated, “Students get to walk out of the classroom with two major things that they have gained: clarity and confidence,” with “clarity being what they want to do and what they don’t want to do when they get out there in the real world.” 

Owusu continued: “On the confidence side, students get to know how to use the professional tools that are being used in the workplace today.” The class also allows students to “figure out where they can take their career next while helping the less fortunate,” she expanded.

The first group of students began with a donation goal of $2,500 but raised $7,500 by the end of the semester. The next group’s goal was $5,000, and they raised nearly $12,000. 

Currently, the class is open to marketing, communication and IMC majors. Alongside founders of the program, Dr. Gregory Wood and John Dahlberg, Owusu hopes to expand the class to other majors throughout the University — from accounting to zoology and everything in between.

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