Education and hands-on experience go hand in hand as Roanoke student, Stephen “Iles” Mitchell, learns what it means to do business in Italy.
3 December 2015
PERUGIA, Italy—Roanoke University student, Stephen “Iles” Mitchell, is gaining hands-on international business experience while studying abroad in Perugia, a small medieval city in central Italy.
Iles is currently enrolled in BSMK 351: Integrated Marketing Communications at the Umbra Institute. The course is based on a service learning project to be delivered to this semester’s community business partner, Cantina Gorretti’s WineTherapy. Umbra’s business and marketing service learning projects offer students the unique opportunity of being able to gain real-world business consulting experience with locally based and internationally relative companies.
WineTherapy is a new brand of all natural creams and cosmetics made from wine, vine leaves and elements from grape seeds. Sara and Giulia Goretti, sisters from the fourth generation of the Goretti family, owners of Cantina Goretti in the outskirts of Perugia, developed WineTherapy through their passion for wine and their knowledge of basic elements found in grapes that are known to exhibit health benefits. Their current goal is to extend their market beyond Italy and to take advantage of their products’ quality, originality, and health benefits to break into the luxury market.
To aid the Goretti sisters in reaching their goal, Iles and his classmates have been analyzing and designing a new integrated marketing communications plan for WineTherapy, keeping in mind the brand’s objectives, budget, selection, scheduling and buying. Not only does this plan deal with public relations, sponsorship, and trade shows, but it also delves into practical skills to be implemented throughout WineTherapy social media communications.
“I feel like I am bringing what I learned at Roanoke into an international mindset,” says Iles as he describes the work he is doing for his upcoming project presentation, which his group will be presenting directly to Sara Goretti later this week. “WineTherapy is more of a passion for her [Sara Goretti]. Italians have a totally different mindset, which is easy to say in a classroom, but different when you hear them describe a focus on prestige and tradition, rather than on money and cutting out the middle man. We are trying to make it into a prestigious business corporation but that’s not really what she’s about, that’s what we are supposed to bring to the table, a marketing scheme and a business plan that will meet her needs, that she will be able to use”.
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. Perugia is the ideal setting to study abroad in Italy, with fine arts, business, and liberal arts courses.