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CBA's Taylor Institute Strengthens Ties with Supporter of Area Manufacturers

2015-10-19 00:00:00.0

Northeastern Ohio companies will have more data to help them find new customers, thanks to an expanded partnership between the Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and MAGNET, a nonprofit that supports small to medium-sized manufacturers in Northeast Ohio.

The stronger partnership has led to the creation of a graduate fellowship at the University. Prachi Shinde, the first recipient of the MAGNET fellowship, is excited to be involved.

“This experience will help me understand the manufacturing industry and its intricacies and nuances, which will come in very handy in the future,” says Shinde, a graduate student pursuing a master’s in information systems management.

Real-World Learning Experience

Dr. Andrew R. Thomas, associate professor of marketing and international business, was approached by MAGNET to conduct research that enables the organization to assist manufacturers in finding new customers and marketing their products. Seeing an opportunity for a real-world learning experience, Thomas brought the work to the Taylor Institute, where students could learn while helping to research new product opportunities.

Over the past year, Thomas, along with Vanja Djuric, director of analytics at the Taylor Institute, have worked with a team of students that also incudes Sarah Wright and Paul Thomas, both current MBA students, and Marlon Stevenson, an undergraduate integrated marketing communications major.

One of MAGNET’s clients is Ken Ripich, executive vice president at American Tank & Fabricating.

"I would like to recognize the team at The University of Akron led by Dr. Thomas for providing AT&F and its business development group with innovative and highly detailed global market research,” Ripich says. “We were impressed with the quality of information and rate in which it was assembled and disseminated. Moreover, the results of this data have helped my company reevaluate our business model and export strategy."

Fellowship Program Launched

Wanting to build on those accomplishments, Thomas and MAGNET’s team under president and CEO, Ethan Karp, looked for new ways to grow and strengthen the collaboration. The graduate fellowship program is that next step.

Prachi Shinde

Prachi Shinde, first MAGNET fellowship recipient.

Shinde knows the impact this hands-on experience will have on her career. “Since MAGNET is a national brand, I will have the privilege of getting great exposure to different processes and their best practices,” Shinde states. “It will have a huge impact on my work ethics and future career. This internship will help me reach my goals.”

Dr. Terry Daugherty, chair of the Department of Marketing, is pleased with the progress.

“This clearly demonstrates the powerful experiential learning our students are engaged in, as well as the immediate impact the program is having with our corporate partners," notes Daugherty. "The relationship with MAGNET is important not only because of the research being conducted, but also because the organization helps us expand our industry connections, which in turn provides new opportunities for our students and faculty.”

About the Taylor Institute

The Gary L. and Karen S. Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing is a state-of-the-art facility featuring laboratories in digital marketing, telecommunications, video production, as well as marketing research and analytics. Its goal is to provide students with leading-edge skills and practical experience in direct/interactive marketing.

(Pictured in the group photo, L to R) Vanja Djuric, director of analytics at the Taylor Institute; Paul Thomas, MBA candidate; Sarah Wright, MBA candidate; Marlon Stevenson, senior; Prachi Shinde, MSM candidate and MAGNET fellow; Dr. Andrew Thomas, associate professor of marketing and international business.

Media contact: Lisa Craig, 330-972-7429 or