Kent State marketing class collaborates on dining project


Students enjoy the many lunch options at Prentice Café during lunch time. 

Students in Kent State’s customer analysis class are putting their education into action by working on a project with Pepsi on how to get commuters to eat at campus dining facilities.

Taught by assistant professor Milad Darani from the department of marketing and entrepreneurship, this course is offered only to managerial marketing students. The class goes beyond the study of consumer behavior by giving students hands-on opportunities.

“I’d say my favorite part of the class is getting that real-life experience,” said Madison Dineen, senior managerial marketing major. “Actually being able to use what I’m learning in a professional setting.”  

The class consists of 33 students broken into eight groups, all of which have their own plans for the project. To collect their primary research, many are conducting surveys and some are doing case studies, Dineen said. 

To inform students of the project’s goal, Mark Foss, key account manager for Pepsi, has worked with the class throughout the semester. He helped outline the objectives of the project, as well as explain Pepsi’s offerings on campus and answer student questions. 

“It’s a really fun class and we do it every year,” Foss said. “This is our fifth year.” 

He said the topic of the class changes every year, but the projects are always unique and complex. He added that along with his consultation, the university’s dining services partner, Aramark, also came to a class meeting to provide students with information on dining services.         

Although this course is not directly involved with Aramark, the results of this project could ultimately benefit the university, Aramark and Pepsi. The data students collect from this project will be primarily used for class purposes. However, if the university feels a group’s pitch could be advantageous, it may incorporate it into its current operations, Dineen said.     

As students focus on finishing their projects, which will be presented during the first week of December, they also aim for something else. Foss said the top three groups out of the class will receive scholarship money, something students, regardless of their major, can appreciate.   

Contact Abigail Mack at [email protected].