First Batch of "Digital Enabled" Marketers from University of Sri Jayawardenepura

On Saturday I spent the whole day evaluating the practical assignments by the first batch of students for newly introduced Digital Marketing subject at University of Sri Jayawardenepura. Three months ago, I got the opportunity of becoming the lead resource person for this course, among some other guest resource persons from various places across the globe.

As part of their group assignment, students were asked to select an organization (business, or non profit) of their choice and develop and execute a real digital marketing campaign. They were given 12 weeks for the project. In my brief to them I clearly advised them not to go after big multinational brands, but rather focus on SME brands who are agile and open enough to leave their brand in the hands of some university undergraduates.

For my delight, most students took this assignment in a real enthusiastic way. They took this as a real good opportunity for them to test themselves as budding marketers. Salon Liyo, De Abrew School of Dance, Roots, Breadway, Namaste are some brands they have taken up for their projects. There were some innovative attempts such as flash mobs and interactive videos done by some groups. From an industry point of view, the work they have done maybe having a lot of room for improvement. However, considering the fact that those were done by a bunch of university undergraduates trying to step their way into the field of marketing, I see some promising digital creative thinkers for the industry in future.

Presentations started at around 10 in the morning and it went up to until 6 in the evening. Despite being a Saturday, two other guest resource persons for the course, +Lalith Sumanasiri  and +Rohan Jayaweera  joined me and two other lecturers from the university as the evaluation panel for the practical assignments. While commending the remarkable work done by most students, I must mention a word or two about the others who tried to take the easy way out. For me, it looked like some groups of students took this as yet another typical assignment. They waited till the last minute to start their work and ended up making below average submissions. The popular excuse was “we didn’t have enough time, as we have lectures on all five days and we are working as internees at various places”. I take such excuses as an insult for the time and commitment showed by the resource persons who committed themselves to make this course a possibility. You have not taken the maximum benefit out of a free resource (worth of thousands of dollars) offered to you on a platter. 

Our objective of investing our time and effort in developing and executing this course was, to produce at least 5 to 10 good digital marketing professionals for the local industry. Looking at the ten presentations on Saturday, I believe we easily over achieved our target in this first batch itself. There were about 10 or 15 good undergraduates who have gathered the essentials of the course very well. They have laid the foundations for a promising career in marketing, in this digital era. Ten years ago, when I graduated from the same university, I never had any exposure in online marketing. Everything I know about digital marketing, I learned it by working at and self-studying using the freely available learning materials availalbe on the web. Therefore, I have a very optimistic feeling that some of these undergraduates will excel very quickly to become better performers in digital marketing than what I managed to achieve in my 10 years career up to now.

Finally, I must thank +Samanthika Gallage, +Suranga Priyashantha , +Indika Jayapala , +Tharindu Gunawardana , +Lalith Sumanasiri , +Rohan Jayaweera and +Angelo Fernando  who were the other resource persons who worked with me in this course. The time and efforts you invested will hopefully yield positive results for the industry as a whole, in near future. :-)

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