Advising McDonald’s Corporation on its marketing strategy is not something the typical teen would expect to do on a school day, but 10 Springside Chestnut Hill Academy Upper School students recently had just this opportunity when they were invited to participate in an independent study project to help the regional office of McDonald’s communicate more effectively with millennials.
The project was offered as part of SCH Academy’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership curriculum, which provides both in-class and extracurricular experiences aimed at helping students develop the skills and mindset for success in the 21st century.
“Helping students gain a better understanding of the issues that drive our free-market economy, including marketing, will have enormous payoffs for them down the road when they enter the workforce,” explains project organizer and history teacher Taraneh Nagizadeh-Kerley. “Not only did it give them a greater appreciation of the challenges and opportunities facing businesses, it also provided an opportunity to exercise their problem-solving and communication skills in a setting that’s not so academic.”
Following a presentation by executives at the regional office, the students returned to school and, after some challenges in getting organized, decided to focus on McDonald’s use of social media targeted to their age group. Among their recommendations: use more humor, “speak like a millennial” in company tweets, and tap into their generation’s latent passion for getting involved.
“The work they did was fantastic and something that has resonated with me and my staff,” says Steven Kerley, McDonald’s Philadelphia region vice president and general manager. “We are better because of them!”
The students say the experience gave them a better appreciation of McDonald’s, the quality of its food, and the challenges facing business. Says one student, “It was a truly incredible learning experience that I’m very fortunate to have been part of.”