Best Marketing’s Liz Sara, Chair of the Board of the Dingman Center of Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneur-in-Residence, just completed teaching her flagship MBA Class, “Business-to-Business Marketing” during this 2017 Winter Session. Now in its fourth year, Liz has fashioned this class as a 100 percent experiential learning environment based completely on outside CEO speakers who present real world marketing challenges. And much like the childhood rhyme we sang in grade school, there really were NO textbooks in this class, nor outdated case studies.
Following the talks (and a lively Q&A session that usually goes into overtime), Liz leads a moderated discussion and shares best practices for tackling that particular marketing activity. That’s where the community and the classroom really come together for real world learning.
As a well-known contributor in the local tech startup and entrepreneurial community, Liz leverages her contacts, clients and business relationships to attract top entrepreneurs to her classroom at the Ronald Reagan Building in D.C. On each of five different nights in a two-week period, the class tackled a specific B2B marketing activity—from how to differentiate a product to identifying target markets, to name a couple. Then, two invited tech CEOs present the challenges they faced in tackling the subject, including any missteps and course corrections made along the way.
This time, 10 separate companies participated as speakers—ranging from serial tech entrepreneur Tien Wong to the startup founders of Comparity and Relish who pitched to Dingman Center Angels this year for seed funding. Liz adds some supplementary, first-hand examples involving her own clients for each of the class topics, further increasing the touch points between the class and the community.
Liz explained to us her vision for the outcomes of the course:
“Marketing as a subject is ideal for this kind of format, utilizing the real-world happenings of local businesses as the basis for learning. Whether it’s the war stories or the success stories, the MBA students get a dose of reality with true takeaways that help them learn. I am delighted that my speakers are willing to share their experiences—the good, the bad and the ugly—and devote their time to come to my classroom. It makes a huge difference. And it provides Smith MBAs with an opportunity to interact directly with the local business sector at the highest executive levels.”
It’s a one of a kind class. And one that happens to be truly differentiated at the Smith School.
“Never have I learned so much in a short period of time about (B2B) Marketing!” says MBA student Jennifer Hwang.
Liz provides strategic marketing consulting to the region’s technology community through her company, Best Marketing, LLC.