RAB Insights

RAB Research Archive

Lessons from Gen Z MITs (marketers in training)

My son, Michael, is on track for a bright future in marketing. He's a senior in high school with plans to enroll in one of the country's top business schools in the fall. As a proud parent (who also happens to enjoy a career in the field of marketing for the past four decades), I have a front-row seat to watch and learn from the world's future marketers.

Michael participates in his high school's DECA Business Club. DECA is a global organization that offers high school and college students the ability to learn, compete and grow – preparing them for a real-world future in the marketing field. Each year, I volunteer to judge the Northern New Jersey District's annual high school marketing competition, where students from high schools across the district convene and compete in role play competitions. Students are given a scenario that they are expected to role play. They have 10-20 minutes to absorb the assignment, create a strategy, prepare a marketing plan and model for success to present to an experienced judge in a 10-minute meeting. They cannot use their phones or computer – it is all back-to-basics, pencil-to-paper and based on their own ideas and knowledge.

As a judge, I evaluate students from all participating high schools (with the exception of my son's school to protect against bias) and each year I see a couple of high school students that I would hire on the spot. Here's why:

1. They come prepared with a well-thought-out and thorough marketing plan created in a 10-minute window. Imagine what would be possible if they had access to research and data to prepare!

2. They are nervous, but they have a strong desire to win and that makes them better.

3. They are creative and find ways to present information and ideas that stand out with only a pencil, paper and themselves as tools.

4. They are outgoing, personable, respectful, likable, curious and interested in the person who sits before them.

5. They have a passion for the greater good with presentations that include community and charitable components.

6. They have no bias toward the media they consume when it comes to marketing to a specific audience. They develop plans that include an omnichannel approach inclusive of radio, podcasts, digital, television, grassroots initiatives and social media.

7. They succinctly and directly answer questions on the spot.

8. They love what they are there to do, have fun doing it and present their work with great pride.

This year, I am proud to say that Michael is a top three DECA district competitor. He's off to Atlantic City to compete in the state tournament in March, and I'm confident that if he follows the eight criteria above, he will be nationals bound in the spring. For all of us, these eight criteria are important reminders for our own sales and marketing initiatives as well as a candidate checklist when recruiting.

Tammy Greenberg is SVP, business development. You can reach out to her at Tammy.Greenberg@RAB.com or connect with her on LinkedIn.

Tammy Greenberg, RAB