Merrimack Student Mark Koussa gets hands-on experience with Italian cashmere company, Pashmere.
17 March 2014
PERUGIA, Italy — A Merrimack College student is gaining hands-on international marketing experience while studying abroad in Perugia, a small medieval city in central Italy.
Mark Koussa is currently enrolled in BSIM 390: International Marketing at the Umbra Institute. This course provides students with an overview of theoretical and current business practices of international marketers, combined with a service learning component that allows for real world experience through a partnership with a local Umbrian company.
This year’s partner, Pashmere, is a 3rd generation, Umbrian, traditional Italian family-run, cashmere clothing company located in Ponte San Giovanni. Previously creating private label collections for designers such as Donna Karen, Prada, Fendi, and Versace; Pashmere shifted their focus in 1999 to designing for their own collection. Following the traditions of artisanal knitwear, their pieces are designed in-house, working with emerging designers. Their goal: to continue growing their business in various markets abroad, while continuing to deliver a high-quality, luxury product.
To assist Pashmere in obtaining this goal, Koussa and his classmates will be researching current and potential social media marketing practices in the United States and Germany; targeted countries selected by the company. Based on managerial interviews, on-site observations, a SWOT analysis, and review of Pashmere’s business operations and materials, groups will present their findings and recommendations to Pashmere representatives at the end of the semester.
“By working with Pashmere, I am gaining real-world experience in my future field,” commented Koussa, an International Business major. “I am learning techniques to properly market a company via social media, which is bringing concepts learned in the classroom to life. We are not only completing work for a grade, but are working to see a general improvement within a working, international company.”
The Umbra Institute is committed to creating innovative international education opportunities for students, allowing for immersion into the local community. Service learning at Umbra links critical thinking and academic coursework with personal reflection and collaboration with the local community. Participation allows students to become active participants in their learning, both in and outside of the classroom.
About the Umbra Institute:
Nestled in the historic center of Perugia, Italy, the Umbra Institute continues to distinguish itself as a provider of innovative study abroad programming. Often called the “big university town in a small Italian city,” Perugia is the ideal setting to explore Italy, with courses fine arts, business, and liberal arts.