Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs

News Release

Contact: Joe King, Office of Public Affairs
(815) 753-4299

September 1, 2004

You’re fired!

NIU brings excitement of
"The Apprentice" to the classroom

For most students, an “F” in a class means: You failed. For a select group of marketing students at NIU this semester, however, it will stand for: “You’re fired!”

While “The Donald” himself will not utter those dreaded words, the class is indeed inspired by NBC’s hit television show “The Apprentice,” which showcased mogul Donald Trump in his search for a young go-getter to direct part of his business empire. For those competing in The NIU Marketing Apprentice Class, the prize will be $1,000 scholarships awarded to all members of the winning team.

“The Apprentice” was a hit among business students at the NIU College of Business college last spring, says Denise Schoenbachler, chair of the Marketing Department. So, when her son Brett (a junior finance major) and his classmate Liz Siegel (a junior marketing major), suggested a class modeled on the show, the faculty quickly saw the value of the idea as a motivator.

“We liked the idea, because it will provide challenges that regular classes simply can’t,” says Schoenbachler. “It will require students to work under pressure and, in the end, we hope that it also instills in them the notion that business can be fun.”
To ensure the academic integrity of the class, each of the tasks assigned to the teams will focus on an area of marketing specifically covered in the college’s curriculum.

“Each of the tasks will require them to apply skills that they have learned in classes. It will give them an opportunity to see how theory can be put into practice. You don’t really learn something until you actually do it, and this gives them that opportunity,” said Marketing Professor Carol DeMoranville, who is team teaching the class along with Marketing Professor Elisa Fredericks.

The class also will provide some real world experience for a group of communication majors who will film the activities of each team as it completes its projects, creating weekly videos that will be scrutinized to help determine which players will be “fired” each week. They will also create a weekly re-cap of the class that will be broadcast on the campus cable television channel.

The first session of the class met Aug. 23, and the class will run through Oct. 4.