LCEF and Concordia Universities Partner for 5th Annual Competition

June 21, 2016 | Posted by LCEF


Ovan Oakley carries a 21-credit load at Concordia College New York, works part time and captains the men’s soccer team. But, he says, he jumped at the opportunity to participate in LCEF’s National Student Marketing Competition.

“I like challenges,” said Oakley, smiling, during the presentation day of the fifth annual competition, held April 15 at the LCMS International Center in St. Louis.

A team of four Concordia University Texas students took top honors for their multi-faceted marketing plan, the result of nearly a semester of research, brainstorming and creating everything from print ads to mobile phone apps for this year’s challenge–to promote new LCEF loan opportunities and increase awareness of the LCMS financial ministry partner.

Concordia New York earned second place and Concordia St. Paul–last year’s champion–captured third. Nine Concordia University System (CUS) schools participated, one mark of how the competition has grown from its inaugural year with four CUS teams.

Nothing Else Like This

“There’s nothing else like this–a great opportunity for the students,” said Lee Pilz, Concordia University Texas marketing instructor and faculty advisor for champs Ryan Bertsch, Felicite Harrison, Daniel Huggett and Jacqueline Knell.

“We put so much time into it,” said Harrison, who, like her teammates, will include the competition on her resume and share the marketing plan booklet they created at job interviews. “I am so appreciative and grateful.”

Blessings Beyond Marketing

Throughout the long competition day, students delivered 20-minute presentations brimming with creative ways for LCEF. Additionally, the students incorporated Scripture in their presentations. The Concordia University Nebraska team built their campaign on the Bible’s Nehemiah.

“When we decided to put a biblical character into it, we knew we would have to look at who that character was and study Scripture. What started out as a marketing project turned somewhat into an effort to serve the Kingdom of God,” said Jon Bartels.

Along with gaining real-world experience, students and faculty alike welcomed the chance to meet counterparts from sister campuses–“to put faces to the other Concordias,” said Elias Gaynor, a Concordia University Portland senior who was talking soccer with Concordia New York’s Oakley.

In this video, the strong partnership between LCEF and the Concordia University System is highlighted.

Better Prepared Each Year

Like other competition veterans, Concordia University Wisconsin’s Dr. Jane Bishop noted that the contest has grown since it began in 2012.

“Each year the students seem to come even better prepared,” said Bishop, associate professor of business and serving her fourth stint as a faculty advisor.

Participating schools also included Concordia University Ann Arbor, Concordia University Chicago and Concordia University Irvine. Each team earned a cash prize, ranging from the $5,000 first-place award to $750 participation prizes.

Whether or not they were among the winners, students seemed to agree with Concordia Nebraska’s Jon Bartels when he said the competition sparked “some big blessings.”