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by Naomi Berhanu
On December 1st 2017, the Hillman cohort and I went to University of Maryland College Park to take part in the audience at the Marketing Competition Finals by the Hillman juniors. During the presentations, I witnessed the phenomenal professional progress and achievements of the students through this program. I was able to visualize myself in the next years and see the outcome of joining this program by seeing the confident and well-prepared Hillman juniors. It also felt nice to see our larger Hillman family from Prince George’s County and University of Maryland.
I understood that the marketing presentations were based on a few non-profit organizations each group worked with. These organizations provided help and solutions to real, persistent, and unmet needs in the society. They work against poverty, malnutrition, unsupported and unrecognized women. They support women going through rough times and not capable to support themselves and their kids, healthy, accessible, affordable food. I could not miss that social media was an important platform each group wanted to develop for the companies. They believe an increase in their presence on social media, more specifically on Facebook and Instagram would be very beneficial to reach more people and receive funds. Moreover, they said telling more touching stories on these platforms was important. I would add some features on the Instagram posts such as swiping to donate money.
The presentations were very interesting and most of the students did not exceed the time limit. They all had power point slides. Most of them gave an exemplary situation of the victims they are targeting and how the program has transformed their lives. The most interesting presentation was of a Hillman who simply just told the life story of a military man from early on to how he got helped by the non-profit they worked with. This person he described was an immigrant and after 9/11 decided to serve the U.S but after military missions, he got severely injured and now ended getting help from this program which tremendously made a difference in his life. This Hillman student was able to convey his point just by emotionally telling a story. However, I would have hoped he went back to his project and explained more the relevance. Nevertheless, he touched the audience by his story telling method which is one thing I believe is important. I will try to express myself emotionally and passionately in my future presentations. Some of the students had flash cards which I think helped for some but was a distraction for others. I think it’s best to present without notes in hand because it will make it seem more natural and fluent.
Finally, watching the Hillman juniors present their marketing project was a great and motivational experience. I had some great takeaways about how to present and about marketing skills. And of course, I had a memorable time with my classmates!
Hillman student Jason Denny had these additional observations: “I noticed that the presentations that where completely memorized ran much smoother in general. I believe that this is due to the amount of time spent practicing. The best presentations also had several members of the group speak, not just one. Due to these similarities, I can clearly see how practice and teamwork lead to a fantastic presentation. In business, a presentation could be a simple task or a very complex endeavor. Working hard, practicing and unifying all group members greatly improve the chances of a successful presentation.”