Empowering Future Marketers: Our Scholarship Winner’s Experience with the Digital Marketing Analytics Bundle

The following essay was written by Colby Bermel, the winner of Stukent’s® One Million Students Strong Scholarship Competition. In it, he shares how the Digital Marketing Analytics Simternship™ and courseware have shaped his skillset and marketing aspirations.

I’m not even exaggerating when I say that Stukent’s Digital Marketing Analytics course single-handedly made me pursue and secure a marketing career.

Prior to my full-time MBA program at The University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business, I was a journalist for six years. I achieved a great deal of professional success at top publications like Politico, but I was still in the dark on some areas — like me ignorantly thinking for a long time that marketing was just advertising. Oh, silly me!

But enrolling in Texas McCombs’ MBA program and taking core and elective marketing courses exposed me to the wide world of this important industry and function. Then it came time to take the Digital Marketing elective in my Fall 2023 semester, a prominent part of which was Stukent’s
Digital Marketing Analytics courseware.

When our professor told us about the Stukent component of his class, I was immediately intrigued. All of my courses leading up to that point had been relatively blasé lectures with no opportunity to test our learnings in the real world, let alone a safe space like Stukent that gave us the chance to see what the actual work of a digital marketer was like.

Thus, I knew that I wanted to take full advantage of this singular experience during my MBA education. I dove right into the simulation’s rounds of webpage design A/B testing and social media budget allocations, making sure to take thorough notes of what my “boss” and “coworkers” told me prior to each activity.

I’ll be honest: the [Simternship] kicked my butt. This is not a resentful statement; rather, it is one of immense reverence for Stukent’s educational power. I’d be on a hot streak with some of my rounds, discovering just the right tweaks for what color to make a webpage element or which platform to spend money on. But then I’d score the worst possible result in a subsequent round!

What this emotional rollercoaster taught me was the importance of taking a disciplined approach to digital marketing, including the focus on identifying a singular variable or insight to change the course of, well, my courseware (LOL). Through the process of hypothesizing, experimenting, analyzing, and iterating, I gained the conviction to take informed risks and learn from actions.

Stukent’s courseware made me appreciate the importance of well-designed websites and intentionally-executed campaigns to meet people wherever they’re at in both the buyer journey and the customer journey. The marketing funnel is more than just an academic framework: it’s a real-life way to treat people with the respect and service they deserve.

Marketing is the frontline for relationships between companies and customers. In the words of my Digital Marketing professor Chris Aarons, who included the Stukent courseware in his curriculum (thank you Chris!), you must be the right brand doing the right thing that is worthy of evangelism. That “right thing” can occur through digital marketing — just like Stukent showed.

I further learned from the Stukent courseware that digital marketing solutions are often counterintuitive and that the customer’s voice should be prioritized over whatever preconceived notion that you as a marketer have. This new professional humility is something that I am very thankful for as I prepare for my new career after graduating in May 2024.

NRG Energy, one of the country’s largest integrated power companies, is where I’ll be spending (at least) the next two years of my career as a participant in their post-MBA rotational program. I will perform four six-month rotations across four of NRG’s retail electricity brands, completing marketing- and strategy-focused projects that include — you guessed it — digital marketing.

I would not have had the confidence to accept this offer from an industry-leading company and its prestigious rotational program — let alone think that marketing was a function for me — were it not for the Stukent courseware. Before it, I was hopelessly adrift in the next steps of my career. But after it, I became aware, competent, and confident in my new path.

Yes, there are now B.S. (Before Stukent) and A.S. (After Stukent) eras of my life. And this unfoldment has been one of the most pleasant surprises of my career and perpetual education. Thank you, Stukent, for publishing this platform, creating this community, and changing lives!


the Stukent Digital Marketing Analytics bundle

The Digital Marketing Analytics Bundle pairs a cutting-edge analytics Simternship with an annually updated courseware. The Stukent Digital Marketing Analytics Simternship asks students to make critical digital marketing decisions and practice A/B testing, campaign prioritization, optimization, measuring metrics, and allocating budgets.

The “Digital Marketing Analytics” courseware gives your students hands-on experience with popular digital marketing analytics tools, including Google Analytics 4, Data Studio, Semrush, and more. Students will optimize and connect results across search, social media, display, and video channels.

To learn about Stukent’s first-in-the-world Simternships and courseware and to get FREE instructor access to Stukent materials, visit our website.

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